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PEASANT 


movements in 

( 1920 - 1949 ) 


RAJASTHAN 


PEASANT MOVEMENTS IN 
RAJASTHAN 
(1920-1949) 


Dr. Brij Klshore Sharma 


Pointer Publishers 

JAIPUR-302 003 (INDIA) 



Distributed by 

Aavishkar Publishers’ Distributors 

807, Vyas Building, Ghaura Rasta 
Jaipur 302 003 (India) 


© Author 


ISBN 81-7132-024-4 



First Published in 1990 by 
Mrs Shashi Jain 
Pointer Publishers 
SMS Highway 
Jaipur 302 003 (India) 


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in 
any form without the prior permission in writing from the Publishers. 


Printed at 
Anuj Printers 
26, Ramgali 8, Rajapark 
Jaipur 302 004 (India) 



Dedicated to my 
Father 

Late Shri Kanhyan Lai Sharma 


PREFACE 


In the two decades the study of peasant movements has 
became the main focal point for the historians of the modern 
Indian socio-economic history. There has been a steady stream 
of works on this topic in the form of research articles, theses and 
books. The Marxist scholars mainly developed this field of study 
in its initial stages. To-day it has became a subject of common 
interest. 

Studies on peasant movements have been conducted both 
at micro and macro levels. The micro studies are mainly conce- 
ntrated at regional, district or village levels due to their inherent 
limitations. The macro level studies on the other hand only 
present an overview of the peasant movements though in an 
integrated manner. Significant macro studies in the field include, 
among others, Sukhbir Ghaudhary’s Peasant’s and Worker's 
Movement in India-1905-1929 (1971), A. R. Desai’s edited volume 
on Peasant Struggles in India (1979), Sunil Sen’s Peasant Move- 
ments in India (1982). All these studies did not, however, take 
account of the various facts of the peasant movements of Rajasthan. 
Only passing references were made to the peasant movement in 
Rajasthan in the works of A. R. Desai and N. G. Ranga. Ranga, in 
his article entitled ‘‘Indian Peasant’s struggle and achievements” 
thus outlifted the rise and growth of Rajasthan peasant movements, 
“Then rose the Jaipur, Gwalior and Udaipur peasants against 
their local Thakors and other feudal lords. They made use of 
the internal quarrels and contradictions between the states, 
princes and the thakors of Jaipur. They achieved victory on 
their economic front. The Udaipur revolt was put down cruelly. 
But forced labour had to be abandoned” (p. 80). 

The present study entitled ‘‘Peasant Movements in 
Rajasthan (1920-1949,” seeks to fulfil the gap left by the above 
cited works. Though, some scattered works have been published 



viii Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

on the subject, they are inadequate and lack a historical perspec- 
tive. The lapses of the previous works do require serious 
consideration and systematic analysis An attempt has been 
made in the present stndy to balance the narrative and analytical 
aspects of the peasant movements in Rajasthan. 

The peasantry in the former princely states of Rajasthan 
groaned under the weight of double exploitation of British impe- 
rialism and native feudalism. Begining with 1920 the peasants 
were in levolt against their horrible conditions of life. The peasantry 
in Rajasthan had to pay a large number of lag-bags (cesses), 
custom duties and also perform begar (forced labour) in addition 
to paying heavy land-revenue which was half of the gross produce. 
The eeonomic structure of Rajasthani society between 1818-1949 
has been analysed in the present study and an attempt has been 
made to find out the level of feudal and colonial exploitation. 

An important point of enquiry in this study is the analysis 
of the international, national and local events which encouraged 
the peasants to revolt in 1920 and thereafter. 

It is an interesting fact to note that in the initial stages 
most of the peasant movements were spontaneq^us and were the 
outcome of social reform movements. In fact, the peasant move- 
ments in Rajasthan initially arose under the spell of social reforms 
and culminated into an economic struggle. The caste panchayats 
played an important role in the early stage of these movements. 
The caste organisations developed into class organisations during 
the peasant struggles. 

During 1920-1938 Rajasthan remained a centre of anti- 
feudal and anti-colonial struggle in India. The role of All India 
National Congress in the above struggle was not appreciable. 
Apart from the active support the Congress did not even pass 
any resolution in support of peasant struggle inspite of various 
efforts of Bijai Singh Pathik, the leader of the Bijolia peasant 
movement. The matured mass movements of princely India 
compelled the Congress to adopt them as an integral part of their 
movements in 1938. In 1938 Praja Mandal movement arose under 
the influence of the Congress. The peasant movements of Udaipur 
and Jaipur provided a prepared ground for seeding the crop of 



Preface 


ix 


freedom struggle in Rajasthan. Between 1938-1949 the peasant 
movements and the Praja Mandal movement for responsible 
governments remained in close co-operation with each other 
irrespective of their class characters. This phase of the peasant 
movements has also been analysed in this study. 

Chronologically the study has been divided into nine 
chapters. Chapter I and II are introductory which deal with the 
historical, geographical background and socio-economic structure 
of the society- Chapter III throws light on the early Bhi! move- 
ments and the movement under the leadership of Govindgir, 
Chapter IV deals with the origin and development of peasant 
movement in Udaipur State, while Chapter V examines the Bhil 
movement under Moti Lai Tejawat. Chapter VI, VII and VIII 
investigate the peasant movement to in Jaipur, Jodhpur, and 
Alwar-Bharatpur States respectively. Chapter IX which forms the 
concluding part of the present study analyses and sums up the 
peasant movements in Rajasthan. 

The study is primarily based on archival documents avai- 
lable at the National Archives of India, New Delhi, and Rajasthan 
State Archives, Bikaner and its branches at Udaipur, Jaipur, 
Jodhpur and Alwar. Contemporary news papers and magazines 
have also been used as supporting material for the study. Besides, 
contemporary published material. Census Reports, Gazetteers, 
Administrative Reports, Settlements Reports, Famine Reports, 
Jagirdari Enquiry Report and various reports pertaining to social 
and economic conditions of peasants have also been scrutinised 
for the study. 

I have got constant guidance and inspiration from my 
teacher. Prof Devendra Kaushik, School of International Studies, 
Jawahar Lai Nehru University, New Delhi. I am highly greatful 
to him for his help in the preparation of this work. I am also 
thankful to Prof. V. K. Mehta, Vice-Chancellor, Kota Open 
University for his continuous academic support and encourage- 
ment. It is also my pleasant duty to express my gratitude to my 
colleagues and friends Dr. G. S. L. Devra, Dr. Anam Jaitly, 
Dr. Shayam Gopal Sharma and Dr. Lila Ram Gujar of Kota 
Open University for their ungrudging help and encouragement, 
especially in discussing various intricacies pertaining to the study. 



X 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


The authorities and Staff of National Archives of India, New 
Delhi, Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner and its branches at 
Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Alwar, Central Library of the 
University of Rajasthan and the IGHR Library, New Delhi deserve 
my grateful thanks for extending all facilities to me at different 
stages of my work. I am also thankful to the Indian Council of 
Historical Research for providing financial assistance to my 
project. 

At a more personal level I am indebted to my wife Dr. 
Shail Bala and my daughter Samta without whose incalculable 
support and untiring co-operation this work would not have been 
possible. 

Kota — Dr. Brij Kishore Sharma 



CONTENTS 



Preface 

vii 

1. 

Introduction 

1 

2. 

Conditions of the Peasantry 

11 

3. 

Bhil Movements 

19 

4. 

Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 

71 

5. 

Bhil Movement Under the Leadership of 



Motilal Tcjawat 

108 

6. 

Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 

118 

7. 

Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 

141 

8. 

Peasant Movement an Alwar and 

Bharatpur States 

169 

9. 

Conclusion 

189 


Bibliography 

196 


Index 

203 





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2 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


I 

GEOGRAPHY 

The concept of geographical environment of a place denotes 
natural surroundings (the climate, soil, seas, mountains, minerals, 
rivers, flora and fauna, terrain, etc.) of a given society settled on 
that tract. The geographical factors had played an important role 
in the early history of mankind. 

There is a trend which over-exaggeratcs the influence of 
geography on society and regards it as the ultimate cause of social 
development and social change. But this in no way conforms with 
facts. For instance Brazil is very rich in natural wealth, but it 
remains one of the most backward countries of the world. Again, 
countries within almost the same geographical environment dis- 
play great disparity and uniqueness in their development. Vietnam 
and Thailand, located approximately in the same geographical 
conditions, stand at different levels of social development, the 
former is passing through the socialist stage of social development, 
while the latter is still languishing in the colonial phase. 

Yet it cannot be denied that the geographical factors do 
exert a great deal of influence on the cultural, social and economic 
life or on social development, though their influence is never 
decisive. Therefore, the description of geographical features of 
the Rajasthan will be worthwhile. 

Location 

The Rajasthan lies between 23° 3' and 30° 12N and 69° 30' 
and 78° 17' E. In the pre-independence period it was bounded on 
the west by the province of Sind; on the north-west by the Punjab 
State of Bahawalpur; and on the north and north-east by the 
Punjab, Its eastern frontier bounded with the United Province 
of Agra and Oudh and Gwalior State; while its southern boun- 
dary ran across the Central India and Bombay Presidency.^ It 
may be useful to give roughly the geographical divisions of the 
several states of Rajasthan. The States of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur 
and Bikaner formed a homogeneous group in the west and north, 
while a tract called Shekhawati (part of the Jaipur State) and 
Alwar were in the north-east. Jaipur, Bharatpur, Dholpur, 
Karauli, Bundi,Kota and Jhalawar grouped together as the eastern 
and south-eastern states. Those in the south were Dungarpur, 



Introduction 


3 


Bansvvara, Pratapgarh and Udaipur with Sirohi in the south-west. 
The central part comprised of the British province of Ajmer- 
Merwara, the Kishangarh state, the chiefship of Shahpura and 
Lawa and parts of Tonk. 


Physical Features 

The Aravali Hills intersected the territory almost end to 
end by a line running nearly north-east and south-west and about 
three-fifth of Rajasthan lay north-west of this line, leaving two 
fifth on the south-east There were thus two main divisions-the 
area to the north-west and that to the south-east of the Aravallis. 
The north west comprising the states of Jodhpur, Bikaner, 
Jaisalmerand Shekhawati region covering an area of about 65,000 
sq. miles, was a vast sandy semi-desert.9 Water in this area was 
at a depth of 200 to 500 feet. Irrigation from wells was of course 
impossible and cultivation depended on fair rain, which was very 
much uncertain. The desert region always faced the problem of 
drinking water also. A little water was collected in small tanks 
or ponds during the rainy season to meet the need of potable water 
for the whole year. The second main division of Rajasthen, to 
the south-east of the Aravallis, contained the higher and more 
fertile regions. 

In the north-western division of Rajasthan the only river of 
any importance was the Luni, which rose from the Pushkar 
valley close to Ajmer and flowed west by south-west for about 200 
miles into the Rann of Kutch.-O The south-eastern division bad 
a river system of importance. The Ghambal, the largest river in 
Rajasthan, flowed through the province for about one-third of its 
course. Its principal tributaries were the Kali Sind, the Parvati and 
the Banas. The last, which was next in importance to the Ghambal 
flowed about 300 miles. It rose from the Aravallis near the fort of 
Kumbhalagarh and collected all the drainage of the South-eastern 
slopes of those hills as well as of the Mewar plateau. Its principal 
tributaries were the Berach, the Kothari, the Khari, the Mashi, 
the Dhil, and the Morel. Further, to the north was the Banganga, 
which rose from Jaipur, flowed towards east through Bbaratpur 
and Dholpur into the district of Agra and after a course of about 
235 miles it joined the Yamuna. The Mahi, a considerable river 
of Gujarat, ran for some distance through Banswara and along 



4 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


the border of Dungarpur in the extreme south.H In addition of 
the above, there were several small rivers and nallahs which flowed 
in rains. The rivers and nallahs could be used for irrigational 
purposes in a province where the water problem was acute. 
There were no natural fresh water lakes, the only considerable 
lake was the well-known salt lake at Sambhar. 

Rainfall was very unequally distributed in the province. 
The following table shows the average annual rainfall (in inches) 
at five representative stations during the twenty five years ending 
1901.12 


Station 

Average Annual Rainfall 
(In Inches) 

Bikaner 

11.06 

Jodhpur 

13.l’8 

Udaipur 

24.77 

Jaipur 

24.94 

Mount Abu 

59.26 


To the above it may be added that the annual rainfall in 
the three eastern states (Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karauli) varied 
between 24 and 29 inches, in Kota and Jhalawar between 31 and 
37 inches, and the town of Banswara got about 40 inches.13 

The above data shows that the rainfall in the north-west 
was below the normal average while in the south-east it was 
normal. The limited availability of water was not used properly. 
The water of the seasonal rivers flowed uncontrolled and was 
wasted. Sometimes these rivers also created havoc by floods. 
The Imperial Gazetter of India (Vol. XX 1, p,93) mentioned this 
situation as follows “In years of excessive rainfall the rivers some- 
times cause damage and loss of life. For example, in 1875 the 
Banas rose in high flood and, in its passage past Tonk town, is 
said to have swept away villages and buildings far above the 
highest water-mark Again, the Banganga river, till it was brought 
under control in 1895 by means of several irrigation works cons- 
tructed by the Bharatpur Darbar, has been responsible for much 
damage, not only in that state but in the adjoining district of 
Agra notably in 1873, when villages were literally swept away by 



Introduction 


5 


the floods, and Bharatpur city itself was saved with great difficulty, 
and again in 1884 and 1885.” 

The water of the rainy rivers could be controlled by cons- 
tructing dams, tanks and bunds. The above measures would have 
brought prosperity to cultivators, but they were not pursued pro- 
perly because the feudal set-up did not care much in this regard. 

Minerals of Rajasthan 

Compared with many parts of India, Rajasthan may be 
considered as rich, if not in the quantity, at least in the variety of'' 
metals which it produced. Copper and lead existed in several 
parts of the Aravalli range. Copper mines were under operation 
mainly at Khctri, in Shekhawati, a province of Jaipur State. In 
Alwar State copper mines were at Dariba, Kushalgarh, Indawas, 
Pratapgarh, Baghani and Bhahgarh. Some copper was procured 
in the range of hills between Lalsot and Nithar in Jaipur State, 
Gogra, Rajgarh and Rajauri in Ajmer, Kishangarh and Sirohi 
State. Lead mines existed at Ajmer, Jaipur and Jodhpur. Zinc 
and Silver mines existed at Jawar, near Udaipur. The other 
minerals were cobalt, iron, etc; however, the quantity of ore pro- 
duced was very small due to inefficient mining process. The mines 
worked at small depths and mining below the water level was not 
possible as the elaborate machinery necessary for draining deep 
mines was beyond the means of the miners, if not beyond their 
mechanical knowledge. There were possibilities of the develop- 
ment of mineral industries but they were never explored. 

In addition to above metals several varieties of building 
and ornamental stones were also available in Rajasthan. Limestone, 
sandstone, slatestone, marble, etc. were in abundance. The 
Makrana marble is of world fame. The Makrana quarries supplied 
the chief portion of the stone used in building the Taj at Agra, 
and the marble employed in decorating buildings in Northern 
and North-Western India was procured from the mines around 
Makrana. 

The second remarkable stone was the limestone of Jaisalmer, 
Slabs were transported to Sindh and used for tombs. The red 
sandstone of Bharatpur, Karauli and Dholpur was equally impor- 
tant as the Mughal buildings in and around Agra and Delhi 
including the Red fort were built of this. 



6 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


It is worthwhile mentioning that large natural stores of 
metal, stone and other minerals were available in Rajasthan. 
However, they did not become an alternative economic source to 
the inhabitants of Rajasthan where agriculture was poor. 

II 

HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL BACKGROUND 

The early history of Rajasthan is like that of the other parts 
of India. The archaeological excavation of Ahar (at Udaipur) 
established that there was a civilization in Rajasthan contemporary 
to Indus Vally civilization. During the Janpad period some parts 
of Rajasthan were in Matsya Janpad. Two rock inscriptions of 
Ashoka near Bairat in Jaipur State show that his dominion exten- 
ded upto this place. 

Between the seventh and the beginning of the eleventh 
century several Rajput dynasties arose in Rajasthan. In 1 193 most 
of the parts of Rajputana were occupied by the Turks. In fact 
Rajasthani States were never independent and sovereign in nature. 
Their fate was linked with the central authorities from time to 
time. Whenever, the central authorities' became weak the Rajput 
chiefs tried to became sovereign and independent. 

During the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526) Rajasthan became 
an imperial province of the Sultans of Delhi. The chiefs of 
Rajasthan tried again and again to get freedom from the Sultans. 
The early Sultans of Delhi constantly pierced the province by 
rapid invasions, plundering and slaying to bring the province 
under their complete control. In the beginning of the fourteenth 
century, Ala-ud-din Khilji finally subdued the Rajput dynasties. 
The line of communication between Delhi and Gujarat through 
Ajmer has baen usually open to the Sultan’s armies and the 
Rajputs lost their freedom for a long time. In the beginning of 
the sixteenth century the Rajput strength revived as by this time 
the Sul tnat of Delhi had weakened. Rana Sanga of Chitor arose 
as a powerful leader of Rajasthan. 

The Rajput revival was short lived as Rana Sanga was 
defeated by Babar in March 1527 at Khanuwa. Akbar finally 
established Mughal ' dominance over Rajasthan. During the 



Introduction 


7 


Mughal regime Rajasthan remained peaceful and it made consider- 
able progress during this period. After the death of Aurangzcb 
the Mughal empire became weak and the process of disintegration 
began. The Rajput states attempted to get free from the Mughal 
control. They also attempted the formation of an independent 
league for their own defence in the shape of a triple alliance bet- 
ween the three leading elans, the Sisodias (Mewar), the Rathors 
(Marwar) and the Kachhawas (Jaipur) but this league could not' 
make headway in achieving the aim due to their inner contra- 
dictions on various issues. 

The decline of the Mughal power created disorder in 
Rajasthan. After 1 720 a series of wars and quarrels took place 
among the states of Rajasthan and the nobles. This state of alfair 
created anarehical conditions in Rajasthan. The period of anarchy 
and disorder resulted in the dessertion of the economy of the pro- 
vince. The peasants went away leaving their lands. Tradesman, 
in dread of robbers and the unscrupulous and oppressive nobles, 
were afraid of carrying on their normal business. Trade and 
commerce declined alarmingly. Industry was in no better 
position.14 Col. J. Tod’s description of the situation in Mewar 
is worth citing. He writes that “the agriculturist, never certain 
of the fruits of his labour, abandoned his fields and at length his 
country; mechanical industry found no recompense, and com- 
merce was at the mercy of unlicensed spoliation. In a very few 
years Mewar lost half of her population, her lands lay waste, her 
mines were unworked; her looms which formerly supplied all 
around, forsaken.’’^® 

In the period of anarchy and disorder the Marathas pene- 
trated into Rajasthan. In fact in the initial stage the rulers and 
nobles hired the services of Marathas against each other in the 
power game. The Marathas took full advantage of the situation 
and they became the real master. Rajasthan, morally and 
militarily debased, became the hunting ground for the Marathas. 
The Marathas and their associate Pindarics looted and plundered 
the province many times. The Rajput states made promises for 
payment of large sums to the Marathas and Pindarics, an obliga- 
tion which was not possible for them to fulfil, and in case of non- 
payment or irregularities in payment these states became the 



8 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


victim of anger of the Mai'athas. Whenever the states of Rajasthan 
tried to get free from the clutches of the Maralhas they were 
defeated repeatedly and their territories were devastated. The 
Poona Residency correspondence recorded a statement of a French 
Military adventurer Pillet which throws light on this as follows : 
“Their country -Jaipur) having been devasted and depopulated 
by the armies (Maratha) which cat up their produce, although 
immense, has destroyed all the branches of commerce which made 
it flourish, and has left for their subsistence only what escapes the 
activity of these armies. Nearly 25 years of such calamities leave 
their ruinous effect to be easily judged. By 1803 all Rajasthan, 
except Bikaner and Jaisalmer states, had been virtually brought 
under by the Marathas, who exacted tribute, annexed territory, 
and extorted subsidies. The Imperial Gazetteer of India explains 
that “Sindhia and Holkar were deliberately exhausting the 
country, lacerting it by ravages or bleeding it scientifically by 
relentless tax gatherers; while the lands had been desolated by 
thirty years of incessant war.”!^ 

The states of Rajasthan were suffocating in the grip of the 
Marathas and they became very much anxious to join hands with 
the British to get free from them. It was only the rising power of 
the East India Company which could free them from the Maratha 
clutches and offer a milder yoke. It was in the very nature of 
these states that they could not retain their independence. The 
British were also free hooters alike the Marathas, but they were 
sophisticated. 

British Paramountcy in Rajasthan 

Lord Wellesley (1798-1805) took interest in the Rajput- 
Maratha affairs to safeguard British interests in India. He wanted 
to curb the Maratha power in northern India. He planned mutual 
friendship with the Rajputs against the Marathas. He succeeded 
in his plan but after his departure from India the British policy 
towards Rajasthan changed and the Chiefs of Rajasthan were left 
to take care of themselves. 

The political conditions of Rajasthan were worsening day 
by day. The Rajput states again became victim of the Marathas 
and the Pindaris. They were not only afraid of the Marathas and 
the Pindaris but there were several reasons which compelled them 



Introduction 


9 


to acccpv the British protection. The chiefs were also entangled 
in wars with each other on petty matters. The nobles were in 
rebellion against their rulers and the rulers wanted to crush them 
down with the help of the British. By 1817 the Maratha power 
began to decline and the British power rose in northern India. 
The states of Rajasthan could not survive independently which 
was in their nature. Lord Hastings (1813-1823) sought to impose 
British paramountcy in India for which suppression of the 
Marathas and the Pindaris was essential. He looked upon the 
Rajasthani States as his natural allies against the Marathas and the 
Pindarics. 

Charles Metcalf, the British Resident at Delhi, was entrus- 
ted with the duty of negotiating alliances with the states of 
Rajasthan. Of the Rajput States (excluding Alwar whose treaty 
of 1803 continued) the first to conclude treaties were Karauli 
(November 1817) and Kota (December 1817) and by the end of 
1818 all the states of Rajasthan joined the British through 

trcatics.18 

Through these treaties the States of Rajasthan came under 
the complete subordination of the British. In principle the exter- 
nal affairs of these states passed into the British hands and a 
nominal independence was given to the rulers in internal affairs. 
The British were empowered to interfere in internal affairs too. 
In fact the Rajasthani rulers lost their freedom and power but in 
the colonial interests their existence was safeguarded by the British. 
Now the rulers became responsible to the British instead of being 
responsible to their people. 



10 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


References 

1. Imperial Gazetter of India, Vol. XXI, pp. 83 and 106, 

2. Ibid.,p.SS. 

3. Census of Rajasthan^ 

4. Report on the Administration of the Rajasthan, 1950-51 p. 2. 

5. Ibid. 

6. Ibid. 

7. Ibid. 

8. Imperial Gazetter of India, Vol. XXI, p, 83. 

9. Famine Report of Rajputana, 1870, p. 1. 

10. Imperial Gazetter of India, Vol. XXI, p. 86, 

11. /6/W., p. 87. 

12. /6W., p. 93. 

13. Ibid. 

14. S. Bhattacharya, The Rajput States and the East India 
Company, New Delhi, 1972, p. 13. 

15. Tod James, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Vol. I, 
London, 1920, pp. 515-516. 

16. Poona Residency Correspondence, Vol. Ill, No. 1. 

17. The Imperial Gazetter of India, Vol. XXI, p. 99. 

18. /6/fi?., p. 101, The treaty with Sirohi State was concluded 
in September, 1823. 



2 


CONDITIONS OF THE PEASANTRY 


With the establishment of the British paramountcy in 
Rajasthan many economic and social changes took place. The 
masses fell into the colonial and feudal clutches of heavy exploita- 
tion. The rulers became much arbitrary in dealing with their 
subjects. They felt that their existence is due to the colonial 
masters, not due to the masses. The peasantry became victim of 
the new arrangement which took place in 1818. On the instance 
of the %itish, the Rajasthani rulers enhanced the amount of land 
revenue arbitrarily. 


In most of the cases the tribute paid by the Rajasthani 
states to the British was not fixed permanently. In case of the 
state of Udaipur the tribute paid to the British was l/4thofthe 
total revenue of the state for the first five years of the treaty; it was 
fixed 3/8th of the total revenue after five years. Obviously, the 
enhancement in land revenue was also enhancement in the income 
of the Britishers.i The tribute paid by the State of Jaipur was also 
fixed in the same manner as follows : 


First Year 
Second Year 
Third Year 
Fourth Year 
Fifth Year 
Sixth Year 


Nil 

Four Lakhs 
Five Lakhs 
Six Lakhs 
Seven Lakhs 
Eight Lakhs 


After six years eight lakhs of rupees were to be paid each 
year. But in case of enhancement in land revenue by more than 
forty lakhs, 5/16th of the total revenue was to be paid in addition 
to rupees eight lakhs.2 



12 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


’ The tribute provisions made with the British paved the 
way for enhancement in land revenue. After 1878 new land 
revenue settlements were made on the British lines to instutionalise 
the loot by the states. These settlements were not aimed at 
improving the agriculture and working conditions of the peasantry 
but their sole object was to collect more money. These resulted 
in the decline of agriculture on the one hand, and inci-ease in 
poverty and indebtedness of the pesantry on the other.'^ 

Here it would be pertinent to discuss the land revenue 
system in the states of Rajasthan to study the peasant movements 
in right perspective. 


Land Revenue System 

The land was divided into two main groups, viz. Khalsa 
and Jagir. The land under the direct management of the State 
(Darbar) was known as Khalsa and the land held by grantees, 
whether individuals or religious,^gitutions, was known as non- 
Khalsa or Jagir. The prop ortio n of territory under both the 
groups varied widely in difTct^nt states. According to the Imperial 
Gazetter, the proportion of the Khalsa and Jagir land in Jodhpur 
was about one seventh of the total area; in Udaipur, one fourth; 
and, in Jaipur, two fifth; where as in Kota it formed three fourth, 
and in Alwar and Bharatpur seven eighths.3 In all, about 60% 
land was under Jagir and 40% under Khalsa. 

trf\ ^ 

Land TcnirrefiJ n Khalsa 

In the Khalsa territory the Darbar was the landlord and the 
superior and final-jfight^f vested in that. The 
cultivators e nio^^ t ^anc^ rip^R The Darbar was empower- 

ed to eject the cultivators as the land finally belonged to it. The 
system of land te nur es in the Khalsa area could be explained as 
follows : 


Biswadars or Bapidars 

These were parmanent tenures in the Khalsa areas. The 
holders of these were given occupancy rights which were hereditary. 
They enjoyed undisturbed possession of their holdings so long as 
they continued to pay the fixed rent. The peasant under these 
tenures enjoyed certain other rights. The land revenue was charged 



13 


CondHions of the Peasantry 

on c oncessional, rates and the land revenue once fixed could not be 
enhanced. All the trees and other natural products could be used 


by them withouL^y restriction or additional payment. They 
could sell or mortgagee their holdings ^ The peasants under the 
cMis-wadari or ^apfdari tenure were very few but certainly they 
privileged in comparison to others. The demand for such 
type of tenure was prominent during the course of peasant move- 
ments in all parts of Rajasthan. The status of Biswadars or Bapidars 
was higher and in some cases they were petty landlords who used 
to lend their holdings to the peasants on the terms and conditions 
fixed by themselves. 


Ijara System 

This was a prominent system of land tenure in the eastern 
and south eastern states while it was in vogue more or less all over 
the province. It was also known as Theka (contract) or Ankbandi 5 
Under this system the right of collecting land revenue of certain 
pargana or area was sold out by public aucuon^o the highest 
bidder who was held responsible for the payment of amount so 
fixed in one lumpsum to the state. Jjaradars were supreme autho- 
rity to let out the land to peasants on the terms and conditions 
fixed by them. 

Those villages or areas which were leased to the general 
body of cultivators were called Kham Izara. The amount payable 
by them was usually distributed over the holdings either by the 
cultivator themsevles or by the revenue officials.^ In principle the 
cultivators were jointly responsible for their payment but in practice 
they held the land jointly and were severally responsible for their 
payment. Where the Tahsildar or Revenue officials managed the 
village directly becasue of its unsuitability for the Ijara the land 
was given to the individuals on patta or lease for a certain period. 

Ijara system was continued more or less till 19C9 but after 
1920 the process of replacement of Ijara with Ryotwari was begun, 
on the one hand it was resented by the peasants and on the other it 
was not considered conducive to the state revenue. 


Ryotwari System 

The rest of the land (other than ijaradari) was taken up by 
peasants who did not possess any t enancy right. At the beginning 



14 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


of each Fasal (crop season) every peasant selcclcd agricultural 
land in the presence of the headman of the village and revenue 
officials. The amount payable by the peasant was fixed annually. 
The term of such peasants terminated with the crop season. 

PaW Kashats 

The cultivators who had no culturablc land in their own 
villages were allowed to take up land in other villages. They were 
know as Pahi KashatsP The villagers \vere always opposed to such 
tenants as they preferred to have the advantage of grazing their 
cattle on the land which otherwise might remain fallow. The 
terms and conditions of Pahi Kashats were different from those of 
Dehi- They weic charged with heavy amount of land revenue in 
comparison to Dehi. They were also not allowed to graze their 
cattle on fallow land. In case they grazed their cattle on such land 
they were required to pay higher rales for this. 

The peasants in the Khalsa area except Bapidars and 
Biswadars had no right of ownership on their holdings and their 
position was tenant at will. The settlement operations which 
licgan in 1880 could not replace the tenure system. It was only 
after 1920 that some kind of security of land tenure to the peasants 
was given in the Khalsa area. The land tenure system left no 
incentives for the agriculturists; it only increased their poverty. 
Due to insecurity of land, the tenuic peasants weic unable to 
improve agriculture. 

Land Tenures in Jagir 

The land held by the State grantees was known as Jagii . 
Before the British paramountcy the word Jagir was applied only to 
estates held by Rajputs on condition of military service. The Jagirs 
were also known as thikanas and the Jagirdars as Thakurs. The 
various tenures of Jagir were as follows : 

Jagir 

The holders of grants under Jagirs were the oldest and roost 
numerous. The Jagirdar was the Thakur or lord who held Jagir 
by grant (Patta) of his chief and performed service with specified 
quota (Tan) of military. The land under their possession was 



Conditions of the Peasantry 

managed by them and the State had no right to intervene. During 
the British period their military importance was finished as the 
external affairs were transferred into the British hands. Though they 
continued to perform military services, the process of cash commu- 
tation was introduced after 1858. By the first decade of the 
twentieth century their military services were commuted in cash.8 

Mu amla 

The word Muamla means primarily an arrangement or settle- 
ment. This category of Jagir tenures claimed that these were 
conquered by the ancestors of the owners. These were not granted 
by the states.® The Jagirdars under this category accepted the^ 
overlordship of the State concerned on the condition of tribute or 
military service. During the British period these were tributaries. 

Subegujars or Istamarardars 

These were tributary grants for 
service performed but only a quit rent 
by them once fixed was not variable. 

Bhumias 

Those holding on the bhum tenure were called Bhumias, 
and were mostly Rajputs.^® They pcrfornii?d certain services, such 
as watch and ward, escort of treasuries, etc. 

Inam 

Inam was a revenue free grant to a person in recognition of 
his services, whereas. Tankha was the grant to a person in lieu of 
service rendered by him. Udak, Bhog, Milk, Muafi, Sasan, were 
generally charitable grants given in Punya and Dharmada. 

The grantees were not cultivators themselves. They 
were landlords and rent receivers. These lands were not governed 
by the revenue rules existing in the Khalsa land of a State. These 
were managed by the landlords according to their will. 

Assessment and Collection of Land Revenue 

In both the areas viz. Khalsa and Jagir the main system of 
assessment of land revenue .was the Batai system.' There were 


which there was no feudal 
was paid. The rent paid 



16 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


various methods o[ Batai. Seedha Batai was a division of the grain 
after threshing by an earthen pot called Mutka. Another method 
of Batai was lata and Kvnta under which the produce was estima- 
ted by the officials of the standing crop. The share ofjagirdars 
and the State varied from one half to one sixth of the gross 
produce. 

The Batai system continued in the Jagir areas upio 1949, 
but in the Khalsa area it was replaced by cash rents fixed on the 
quality of land. The cash system was known as Bliej or Jama 
system. 

In addition of the land revenue a large number of Lag-Bags 
5^ (cesses) were also imposed uijon the peasants. Some of these 
* cesses were regular while other were occasional. The number of 
these was not fixed. In some states it was upto three hundred. 
The cesses such as Sirana, Mtilka, Kunsari Gaon-Kharcli Karda, 
Batta, Kasar, Tulai, Parkhai. Nazarana, Dastitr, Lata, Kwua, 
Sahanagi, Haq Patel Patwari, Kanungo, Choudhary and Kamdar, 
Paona, Bhum were charged regularly with the land revenue.^ 

In addition to land revenue cesses there were many cesses 
on agricultural production, cattle breeding, goods transportation, 
natural products, cottage industries etc. The cesses related to 
agricultural production were charged on commercial crops such 
as cotton, opium, jute, sugarcane and oilseeds. Nalrai and Naharbas 
cesses were charged on irrigated land. P/zer, Kadbi. Jura, Gore- 
ka-ghas, Rajka etc. were charged for the cattle owned by Jagirdars 
and the State cavalary. The cesses known as Cbheli Ginti, Unt- 
Ginti, Khuntabandi, Pan-Charai. Hansil Mavesi Johar, Hansil 
Charai. Guada etc. were charged on cattle breeding. Cesses were 
also charged on the export and import of grain, fodder, live 
stock, seeds, fertilisers, agricultural implements, etc. which were 
known as Lag Mapa, Virsa, Dagli Binsiid, Arat, Cbhapa, Zakat etc. 
The cesses were also charged on the naturally grown grass, 
firewood, gond etc. 

The above mentioned cesses adversely affected the agrarian 
economy. There were also some other cesses which may be 
grouped as social cesses. The cesses known as Bagdam, Nata- 
Dharicha, DIioI Danka, Kansa-parosa, etc. were charged 
from peasants on the occasion of marriage and death feast. The 



Conditions of the Peasantry 


17 


4^4 

Jagirdars also charged Baiji-ka-hatkharch, B henl _ Mataji, Kimwarji- 
ka-Kalewa, Bhent-HolU Diwali and Dashahara etc. 

The amount of these cesses sometimes reached a figure 
almost double of the land revenue. The economic burden upon 
the peasantry was unbearable. The rulers and Jagirdars were 
looting the masses for their pleasure. Peasants were also foi ced 
to perform bagar. The position of peasants was like that of a semi- 
slave — a situation which was worst than that in the medieval 
period. 

Under the prevailing land revenue system the peasants 
had no land rights. The land revenue and cesses charged by the 
States and landlords were quite excessive. After paying the land 
revenue peasants sometimes could not save enough for his bread 
and to fulfil his domestic needs he was compelled to borrow 
money from the usurer money-lender. 

The conditions of peasants were worse in the Jagir areas in 
comparison to the Khalsa area. There was no rule of law and the 
peasants were on the mercy of the Jagirdars. Most of the peasant 
movements arose in the Jagir areas. 


REFERENCES 

1. Gharls Aitchison, A collection of Treaties, Engagements and 
Sanads, Vol. Ill, p. 22. 

2. Ibid. 

3. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol. XXI, p. 147. 

4. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign Deptt. 
A-Revenue-I, Progs. Sept. 1883, Nos. 1-6; The Imperial 
Gazetteer of India, Vol. XXI, p. 1 48 and Pinal Report on 
the Settlement operations of the Khalsa villages in the 
Marwar State 1921-26 pp. 22-26. 

5. Report on the Political Administration of Rajputana, 1865-67, 
para 14-16. 



18 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


6. Report on the Administration of the Jaipur State 1922-26, 
p. 17 and Final Report on the Settlement Operation of the 
Khalsa villages in the Marwar State, 1921-26, p. 21. 

7. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign Deptt. 
A — Revenue-1, Progs. Sept. 1883, Nos. 1-6, Para 5. 

8. B,K. Sharma, “Economic conditions of Peasants in the Jaipur 
State {1880-1949)" (Unpublished thesis. University of 
Rajasthan, 1980), p. 59. 

9. Report on the Political Administration of the Rajputana, 
1873-74, p. 87. 

10. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol. XXI, p. 148. 

1 1 . B.K. Sharma, “Beesui Sadi Kc Puruardh Mien Rajputana 
Ke Rajyoin miess Lag-bag Pratha euam Uska Arth 
Vyaustha Per Prabhau,” Shodh Patrika, Udaipur, Vardha 
33, Ank 2. and the Marwar Kisan Sabha Bulletin Nos. 1-5. 



3 


BHIL- MOVEMENTS 


The Bhils were the first to raise a rd^iUimwigainst feudalism 
and -British imperialism in Rajasthan. The majority ofBhils 
inhabited the former ly Slates of Mcixar (Udaipur), Dungarpur, 
B answai a and Sirohi of Rajasthan. The Bhil tribe was a peaceful 
community builhS' changes fostered by the British compelled 
tlicm to be turbulent against the British and the feudal order. 
Before the British rule they were enjoying undisturbed forest 
rights. In 1818 the Stales of Mewar, Diingarpur, Banswara 
and in 182-1 Sirohi concluded ticatics with the British power, 
In 1818 the Bhil revolted in the Mewar Stale against the new 
order. 


Early Movement 

On 13jh January, 1818 the Mewar Government concluded 
a treaty with the British in which all the external affaits were 
handed over to the British. The British were also empowered to 
intervene in the internal alTairs of the State in certain eases. 
Practically the British became the real master as the amount of 
tribute paid by the Mewar State to the British was not fixed but 
a portion of revenue was to be taken by the British which was 
l/4th up to five years and after that it was raised to 3/8th of 
State’s rcvcnuc.1 The rise in the State’s revenue meant a' rise in 
the Company’s income too. Obviously, the British tried their best 
to raise the revenue of Mewar Slate. 


In 1818 the Bhils in Mewar revolted due to various 
First, with the treaty of 1818 the native force's 
were dissolved. The Bhils were also employed in the regular and 



20 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


irregular forces of the State and Jagirdars and with the dissolution 
of native forces they became unemployed. Secondly, immediately 
after the treaty the internal administration of the Mewar State 
was taken over by the British Resident Col. James Tod and he 
> tried to bring Bhils under his control. Thirdly, the Gametis (Bhil 
Chief) used to collect 7?o/r/;nw// (watch) tax from the neigbouring 
villages of their settlements and a tax called Bolai \Safty) on the 
passage of goods and travellcrs.2 Col. Tod in order to establish 
strong authority upon Bhils decided to take over the right of the 
above taxes from the Bhils, This became the immediate cause of 
the Bhil revolts. Therefore in 1823 the British troops were sent 
against them and they compelled the Bhils to surrcnder.3 Though 
the Bhil revolt was crushed, but the British could not achieve 
permanent peace. Furthermore, the above British action created 
bitterness among the Bhils. 

To combat the Bhils the British Government made some 
new arrangements. The general administration of the Bhil tracts 
was taken over by the British and an Assistant Political Agent was 
appointed to look after the administration. In 1841 under his 
command a Bhil Corps was raised for which the Mewar Govern- 
ment contributed Rs. ')0,000/- annually.'® The above army became 
a tool to crush the Bhils. 

During 1881-83 the Bhils of Mewar again challenged the 
British and Maharana’s authority. The reasons for this revolt are 
discussed below. 

After the frfeedom struggle of 1857 the British Government 
took over the Empire from the East India Company and a number 
of administrative changes were introduced in the Indian States. 
These changes put a check on the rights enjoyed by the Bhils. 
^ They were not allowed to take any advantage of cultivation and 
natural products without paying taxes, which they were enjoying 
freely. The civil officers were treating the Bhils in a cruel and 
inhuman manner and were extorting money forcibly from them. 
The oppression of the Bhils reached such an extent that some of 
them were forced to sell their children to pay the State dues. 
^ There were also complaints of corruption among the civil officers.^ 
The Bania and the money lender who were absent from the Bhil 



Bhil-Movements 


21 


areas, were introduced under the new system. They were also 
exploiting the uneducated and ignorant Bhils under the pressure 
of the English legal system .6 

Under the pretext of administrative reforms many levies 
were imposed upon the Bhils Custom check posts were established 
in the Bhil region, which raised the prices of consumer goods. New 
taxes were imposed on tobacco, salt and opium. Liquor distilling 
by the Bhils was prohibited. ^ 

' The British efforts to introduce social reforms among the 
Bhils also agitated them. The witchcraft (Dakan) practice was 
prevailing among the Bhils. Any woman suspect of being a Dakan 
^’as toitured and killed. The British authorities pressed the 
State to stop this practice. The Bhils considered it an attack on 
their beliefs. This generated suspicion in their mind about the 
British. The census operations started in 1881 in the Mewar 
State also agitated the Bhils. The Bhils thought that the census 
was conducted to recruit them in the British army. They also 
feared that through census operations more taxes would be 
imposed on them. Some of them thought that attempts were being 
made to wipe out the Bhil race.8 

• The anti British feelings were also a cause of the Bhil unrest. 
In fact their freedom was snatched by the British and they were 
put into strict authority of administration for the first time. During 
1818-23 the Bhils were crushed by the British which also generated 
hatred to British among the Bhils. 

Police atrocities upon the Bhils gave rise to Bhil revolts - In 
the first week of March, 1881 a problem arose in the village 
Padona on the Udaipur-Kherwara Road which gave rise to Bhil 
revolts. The gameti (Bhil Chief) of this village was swnmone^ by 
the lhanedar of Barapal to appear as witness in some land dispute. 
The thanedar of Barapal sent Sawar (Police Constable) to summon 
the gameti, who refused to go. When the sawar tried to use force 
he was killed by the Bhils The thanedar reached the village with 
force and arrested the gameti. The gameti was tortured by police 
cruelly and put to death. The Bhils of Padona and Barapal atta- 
cked the police station and the thanedar was killed.9 The Bhils 
became violent and they bui nt down the bania shops and police 



22 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


posts in the nearby areas. The Bhils of Tidi and Kotra also joined 
the revolting Bhils. In no time the revolt spread over other hilly 
areas of Mewar State. 

The state and British forces were sent to crush the revolt. 
The forces could not succeed in rounding-up the Bhils due to ope- 
rational difficulties in the dense forest. The Maharaja’s personal 
Secretary Shyamaldas, who was accompanying the troops, entered 
into negotiations with the Bhil leaders.lO The negotiation could not 
bring about the settlement because the British were not in favour 
of it as they were trying to supersced the state env^. At Rikhab- 
dev British representative Col. Walter made settlement of peace 
with the goinetis of Bhils. The Bhils were san^ioned £oncessions 
in respect of their forest rights and taxes. 

The above early movements of the Bhils were spontaneous ano 
generated in reaction to the new system. The British Government 
took various measures to check the Bhil activities in future. On the 
one hand they announced some concessions to the Bhils and on the 
other they established an efficient network of military and civil 
control of the Bhil areas. These efforts succeeded in keeping the 
Bhils peaceful for a long time in Mewar State.^i 


Bhil Miovczzient Vitder Govindgir 




A Social reform movement among the Bhils was launched by 
a reformer known as Govindgir. He tried to uplift the moral and 
material life of the Bhils through social and religious preachings. 
The teachings of Govindgir awakened the Bhils and the social 
religious movement culminated into politico-economic revolt of 
the Bhils.^ 

Govindgir was a banjara by caste of Vedsa village in the 
Dungarpur state. He himself was a tenant cultivator. His poor 
economic conditions and the death of his wife and sons diverted 
him towards spiritualism and he became a Sanyasi. He became a 
dis ciple o f Sadhu Rajgir of Bundi Kota Akhara. He established 
his Dhmi (fire-pit) and Nislian (flag) in Vedsa village and started 
teaching s piritujtli sm to the Bhils of the surrounding area.l2 The 
main teachings of Govindgir were as follows in his own words.13 
“At that time I lived among the poor submissive and wild people 



Bhil- Movements 


23 


Bhils, who had no idea of the c reator . To those who came to my 
h^t there I used to advise them to behave like savkars (higher 
classes) I showed them the path of religion and truth; and preach- 
ed them to worship God; not to commit theft, adultery, deception, 
etc., not to cherish feelings of enmity with others but to regard all 
as the progeny of the same parent (the creator) and live peacefully 
with others; to follow agriculture and to maintain themselves; not 
to believe in Virs, Vantaras, Bhopas, etc. (i.e. Ghosts, witches, 
enchanters and other superstitious beings); but as a safeguard 
against them to establish dhmis and nishans and to worship these.” 
The Bhils were also taught not to drink liquor and cat meat. He 
also asked them to take bath and worship God before taking food, 
commit no murders, practice no debauchery, not to be avaricious, 
to obey parents, not to give false evidence, have ImfUin God, not 
to worship thousands of Gods.i^ " 

\- Govindgir was activated by a sincere desire to reform the 
social habits and religious beliefs of the Bhils. Through his 
efforts the Bhils began to emerge from their old dark and uncivilis- 
ed conditions. Therefore, the teachings of Govjndgir were hailed 
as a gospal of freedom from the age-old socio-religious bondages 
and they came out of the state of inferiority complex. The 
Bhils were taught to consider themselves the equals of the higher 
Hindu castes who were even declared to be inferior in some res- 
pects, such as their alleged bad custom of prohibiting remarriage 
of young widows. The above feelings of Govindgir’s panth (sect) 
are made amply clear by his own statement that ‘‘The Rajputs are 
so cruel that they kill their girls so that they may not give in 
marriage to others. The Rajputs do not allow their young widows 
to remarry and if these girls become widows in young age the sin 
of infant widowhood is on their head because they remain unhappy 
in that life and are miserable. No true Brahman is seen. The 
thread is now the only mark of Brahmanism and whoever puts it 
on is a Brahman. They arc as s inful as Rajputs and their widows 

are also guilty of miscarriage.”i6 

’■ 'These ideas enlightened the Bhils and made them aware of 
their conditions and rights. These ideas also compelled them to 
think that they were kept in servile condition by their masters the 
Rojas and Tbakurs.Thty were the owners of the land and ought to 



24 


Peasant Mo\ements in Rajasthan 


rule over it. Therefore, this socio-religious reform movement was 
culminating in economic-political movement. 

V 

As a result of the above preachings and welfare activities, 
Govindgir’s panth was becoming popular among the Bhils. His 
influence was increasing rapidly. In 1805 Govindgir established 
"Samp Sabha”, an organisation to unite the Bhils.i® The network 
of this Sabha spread over a large area. These activities alarmed 
the rulers, their officials and Jagirdars. They feared that Govind- 
gir’s influence might be employed to undermine and subvert their 
authority and they were all anxious to see these preachers go away 
from their own states. This attitude of the authorities generated 
reaction among the Bhils. Thus, gra dually this movement wa s 
taking political colour. The numerical strength of the Bhils in the 
states and estates of southern Rajasthan and adjoining areas of 
Gujarat was as under.i^ 


States 

Total Population 

Bhil Population 

% of Bhils 

Banswara 

1,65,463 

95,834 

57.91 

Dungarpur 

1,59,192 

74,229 

46.62 

Pratapgarh 

62,701 

20,934 

33.38 

Kushalgarh 

20,005 

17,100 

77,70 

Idar 

1,68,557 

70,312 

41.71 

Pol 

3,959 

3,365 

84.99 

Sunth 

59,350 

30,365 

51.16 


'j’jjg above data shows that nearly half of the population of 
these states was under the influence of Govindgir’s movement. It 
was easy to rule over the ignorant, illiterate and uncivilised peop le 
but enlightened people could not be ruled without log ic. The 
Resident of Mewar in his letter to the Agent to the Governor- 
General in Rajputana stated categorically thus : “The doctrines, 
especially is as far as (1) they raised the social aspirations of the 
Bhils and thereby made them less a miabl e to unquestioning 
obedience of the orders of the Rajput Thakurs and officials, and 
(2) tended to decrease the sale of liquor and thus affect the Abkari 
revenue of the States in which the Bhils reside. ”^8 The State 
officials started to eject the preaches pf Govindgir’s panth from 





Bhil- Movements 


25 


their territories. They were ill-treated by the authorities and they 
were forced to give up the panth. In some cases they were also^ 
forced to drink liquor 19 Their panth was insulted by t earing 
the nishans and putting out the dhunis. The Jagirdars and State 
of Dungarpur compelled Govindgir to leave their territories. 

The indifferent attitude of the above authorities generated 
hatred among the Bhils and compelled them to take a political 
line against the authorities. *‘Govindgir preached crusade against 
the authorities to overthrow the oppressive rule and reestablish 
the Bhil power in Bhil tracts. Thus gradually the social religious 
reform movement assumed a distinct political colour.” In 1908 
Govindgir left Vedsa village of Dungarpur state and also the Bhil 
tracts of Southern Rajasthan 

After leaving Rajasthan Govindgir started to work among 
the Bhils of the Idar and Sunth State (Gujarat) under the Bombay 
govcrnment.20 There he remarried his brother’s widow and 
became an agriculturist He worked as a Hali cultivating labour 
of the Ukreh (a village) Thakur under the Sunth State, and then 
was a hah o( Surpur (a village) also under sunth.2i In fact he 
took over the cover of agriculturist to expand his ideas "Along- 
with his moral teachings he also created awakening among the 
Bhils regarding their natural rights and their exploitation and 
oppression by the States and Jagirdais Govindgir worked lor the 
cause of Bhil freedom from all types of evil During his early 
days he established his net work in the southern parts of Rajasthan 
and after 1908 he also spread it m the adjoining areas of Gujarat. 
He explained the reasons for the miserable life of the Bhils. 

Here it will be pertinent to explain the causes of the Bhil 
uprisings By this time the traditional economy of the Bhils had 
been shattered and they were passing through a transitional phase. 
In the changing conditions they were not getting justice from their 
ruling masters. The grievances of the Bhils which com pell ed them 
to revolt under the leadership of Govindgir were as follows : 

1. In the olden days, the R/n7j lived in grass of wattle 
huts in the jungle, and just sowed a little maize in the rainy 
season. They mostly lived on hunting and natural products. In 
case of much hardship they used to loot the surrounding areas. 
Under the changing conditions a large number of them were 


26 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


compelled to adopt agricultural profession and settled down as 
cultivators. Thus, they came under direct control of the British, 
native states and the Jagirdars. As they were living a free life they jtj, 
could not relish the feudal and colonial control. 

The States and the Jagirdars were charging heavy land 
revenue from the Bhils. The most prevalant system of land 
revenue assessment was Vaji or Batai or Bhagwari (crop share). 
The share of the states and the Jagirdars was assessed under 
latai or Kaltar (rough estimates) system. Under this system 
crops were over assessed and in case of inability in payments the 
Bhils were beaten up and ill-treated by the authorities. The Bhils 
had got no land rights. The land belonged to the States and the 
Jagirdars and the Bhils were cultivating it as their tenants-at-will 
and w'ere little better than serfs.22 Obviously, the settled 
habits placed the Bhils at the mercy of the States, Jagirdars and 
their officials. Formerly oppression was met by flight, but during 
this time flight was not possible. The new arrangements with 
the Bhils also pushed them into the hands of the money lender. 
The land revenue system became a cause of the Bhil uprisings. 

PC' 

‘ 2 . Another grievance of the Bhils was with regard to the 

forest products. The modern methods of forest administration 
prevented the Bhils from fetching the forest products. Though, 
the Bhils had adopted agricultural profession but they still relied 
much on the forest products. The ownership of Mhowa trees and 
the right to use wood for their houses and to trade in wood and 
bamboos and other forest products and to graze their cattle in 
the forest were some of the most valuable rights the Bhils owned. 
Through settlements the above rights were restricted by the 
States and the Bhils were not allowed to enjoy the above without 
paying tax.23 During this period the prices of forest products 
were increasing. The States also increased the forest taxes upon 
the Bhils in arbitrary manner which caused discontentment among 
the Bhils. To some extent the Bhils were allowed to take wood 
for use as timber with the permission of the authorit'cs. It was 
a general complaint among the Bhils that the authorities granted 
the permission with delay and in a harassing and humiliating 
manner. The above restrictions affected the economic life of the 
Bhils very adversely. 



Bhil-Mo vements 


27 


3. Forced labour (Veth-Begar) was prevalent in Bhil 
areas on a large scale which also discontented the Bhils. The 
Bhils were compelled to perform begar or veth by Jagirdars and 
state officials They were employed without payment for cutting 
and carting grass. The Bhils were forced to cultivate the Jagirdar’s 
land, to construct their houses etc. The state official took begar 
from them for carrying the baggage on head for escort duty, watch 
and supply of carts. The Bhils were also required to work as 
domestic servants in the houses of Jagirdars and state officials. 
The Agent to, Governor-General in Rajputana in a letter to the 
Secretaiy , Foreign and Political Department, stated that “Under pre- 
sent circumstances the burden falls very unequally on the Bhil 
population. Village whose position on the main load or near big 
towns renders them peculiarly liable to begar have to bear an 
unduly heavy shaie of the burden and it often happens that even 
with a very light assessment the harassment from “Begar” is so 
great that whole villages are deserted and land thiown out of 
cultivation ”24 The Bhils were performing begar or veth since a 
longtime but the teachings of Govindgir awakened them. The 
begar was based on the caste hierarchy and the lower caste people 
had to put with heavy begar duties. The Bhils were considered 
to be a low caste people. Now the Bhils were feeling that they are 
being subjected to exploitation by the authorities due to their lower 
social status. The social religious reform movement among the 
Bhils awakened them to fight against social injustice. 

4. Defective Abkari policy of the states also agitated the 
Bhils and in course of time the Abkari or State monopolized 
liquor trade become a sore point with the Bhils. The small states 
chiefly populated by the Bhils including Sunth, Idar, Banswara, 
Dungarpur and Kushalgarh depended to a great extent on the 
liquor monopoly which forms l/3rd to l/6th of their gross revenue. 
The monopoly was given to contractors, among whom there Was 
considerable competition. The states suppressed illicit distilling. 
The Bhils had enjoyed the right of making country liquor for a 
long time. The country liquor known as niaodi was very popular 
among the Bhils which was extracted from Mhowa flowers. Now, 

they were prohibited to distil maodi by the contractors and state 
officials 



28 


'Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


This was greatly resented by the Bhils, But under the 
influence of the reform movement the Bhils gave up drinking 
which threatened the states and contractors with heavy losses. 
For instance the sale of liquor in Banswara in October, 1913 fell 
from 18,470 gallon to 5154 gallon, and all the surrounding states 
were similarly alTected.25 In the year 1912-13 the gross revenue 
of Banswara and Kushalgarh was Rs. 2,50,000/- and Rs. 86,000/- 
rcspectively out of which Rs. 56,000/- was from liquor in Banswara 
and Rs. 31,000/- m Kushalgarh was from liquor.26 The con- 
tractors and state officials forced the Bhils to drink and tried to 
crush the reform movement. The political agent for Southern 
Rajasthan States wrote to the Resident in Mewar, that “The 
contractors were the immediate sufferers. They and their agents 
no doubt did the.i utmost to stem the tide of their losses and in 
some places may have employed wrong or questionable means 
to induce the Bhils to revert to their former habits. ”27 The liquor 
issue became a prominent point among the Bhils. 

5. Ill-treatment of the Bhils by the authorities accentuated 
their sense of suffering and created great resentment among them. 
The Bhils were ill-treated by the State official, Jagirdars and their 
Kamclars in connection with land revenue, forest laws, begar, 
abkari matters, etc. In some of the States Jagirdars used their 
own police which dealt with the Bhils in a cruel manner. The 
Agent to the Governor General in Rajputana in his letter to the 
Secretary, Gk)vt. of India, Foreign and Political Department, had 
written about the Jagir police in Banswara state. He wrote 
that “The question of the Jagir Police is a still more difficult one. 
In a state like Banswara where a large portion of the State is in 
possession of the Jagirdars the darbar is comparatively poor and, 
with all the calls on its small income it could not maintain a force 
of police sufficient in times of stress to control the whole state. 
The Jagirdars therefore keep up bodies of armed police. These 
besides their potential use to quell local bands of dacoits and 
rising of Bhils on a small scale, which in the present stage of their 
civilisation are chronic in times of scarcity and famine, and 
which arc liable to occur even in ordinary times, are put to 
practical use as the tax collectors, warrent servers, collectors of 
forced labour, messengers, etc. This system may be said to be a 
part of the structure of the feudal system and can only be done 



Bhil-Movements 


29 


away with gradually, and it is important not to undermine or 
suddenly weakness the authority of the local Jagirdars.”28 

The Jagirdars of Banswara State exercised almost unlimited 
criminal powers over their tenants, who were mainly the Bhils. 
In this regard the Agent to the Governor-General further observed 
thus : “Ten years ago while the Slate was under administration 
(British administration) those powers were withdrawn and the 
principal Jagirdars were made Magistrates under the control 
of the Darbar Criminal courts. They still, however exercise 
complete civil jurisdiction over their tenants and no civil cases 
from Jagirs are heard in the State Courts except where one or 
both of the parties is a Klialsa subject. ”20 The police and civil 
administration subjected the Bhils to suppression, thereby 
creating resentment among them. 

6. The immediate cause of the Bhil rising in 1913 was 
the social religious movement among the Bhils under the leader- 
ship of Govindgir. The authorities look it as a challenge to their 
authority and they iried to supress the social religious reform 
movement of the Bhils with strong physical assaults'? In reaction 
to the I'ecent tyrannies of the states and the Jagirdars the Bhils 
united themselves to fight against them under the leadership of 
their Guru Govindgir. The above situation was explained bv the 
Political Agent for Siuthern Rajpufana Stale in his letter to the 
Resident Mewar He stated that “It is abundantly clear that the 
seed sown by the Gurus fell upon soil ready to receive it; to 
account for which, we might expect to find either a general 
grievance among the Bhils due to a feeling of being neglected 
in an age when depressed classes are every where obtaining some 
recognition and better conditions of life, or a set of genuine 
specific grievances'^ It is certain that bad reasons have nothing 
to do with the case. Recent years have been good for agriculture 
and this year Banswara had a rainfall of 55 inches with a record 
crop of cereals. The general conditions of the Bhils, abo, has 
never before been better in the experience of all competent judges. 
The grievances we have been told of, except such as the old time 
grievance of begat (forced labour), and complaints against the 
tyranny of the feudal system generally, are all connected with and 
subsequent therefore to the spread of the reform agitation There 



30 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


arc^llegations of robbery by the Police of their Gurus and Bapas', 
insults offered to their religion, such as the forcible removal of 
their Dhunis and flags on places of worship; pressure brought to 
bear on them by the police and other interested in the liquor 
trade; and the expulsion of their preachers from one State after 
another. 

It has been already mentioned that in 1908 Govindgir left 
Rajputana and worked among the Bhils of Sunth and Idar states, 
of Gujarat upto 19l0 under the cover of an agriculturist. He 
awakened the Bhils of the above states and he was able to build 
up a mass movement of the Bhils in the Thikan Pal Patta under 
Idar State. The situation created by the Bhil movement compel- 
led the Thakur of the above thikana to sign an agreement with 
the Bhils. Under this agreement the Bhils got some concessions. 
The above agreement was concluded on 24th February, 1910.<'1 
The terms and provisions of the agreement were as follows : 

AGREEMENT 


To 

The Dungri Girassia Bhils of Pal Patta 

The dispute between us has been settled and the terms of 
agreement to be entered into are as under : — 

1. I used to receive 1/4 of the gross Vaje (Share) of the 
summer and monsoon harvest; but as you object to it, I 
give you concession as under : 

(a) As regards monsoon crops 1 /5 of the net produce of 
corn will be levied henceforth. 

(b) As regards summer harvest 1 /6 of the net produce of 
corn will be levied henceforth. 

2. Contribution at the rate of Rs. 3-4-0 per plough will be 
levied instead of Rs. 3-8-0. 

% 3. A right called 'Kanyp ChorB (Bride Tax) will be reduced 
from annas 12 to annas 6 per bride {Kanya). 

4. A right called “Bachaka” i.e. 10 pounds of corn per house 
from the produce of Mai and Maize will be. abolished. 



Bhil-Movements 


31 


5. One Maim (a measure equal to 10 lbs.) of Maize will be 
levied in default of paymtnt of 100 maize spikes per 
house. 

6. The practice of receiving a bundle of uprooted plants of 
gram with ripe legumes per house from the produce of 
grams will be continued and in case of default, one mana 
of grams will be taken. 

7. Free hold land granted to the persons through favour will 
be continued so long as the line is not extinct but the 
holders of such lands should remain on friendly terms 
with me. 

8. The practice of giving ghcns grain to the mukhis will be 
similar to that which was in force in the time of Jamadar 
Gulab Khan. 

9. The practice of receiving wages in kind on account of 
estimate of crops and collection of Veto (tax) goods and 
rupee one on account of Nazarana from the Mukhi will be 
continued. 

10. The practice of giving Gi/gon, i. c. remuneration to those 
who carry Vaji to the Darbar will be similar to that which 
was in force in the time of Gulab Khan. 

11. There will be no .undue harassment in recovering the 
arrears for which the leaders of the village will be held 
responsible. 

12. The estimate of crops will be made in the presence of the 
Mukhis and Matadors (leaders of the village) and no undue 
pressure will be brought to bear upon them If there be a 
difference ol opinion in estimate, a superior will be appo- 
inted and his expenses will be borne by the party that will 
fail. The Estate will bear the expenses in case the Kalatru 
(a person appointed by the Estate to the estimate the crop) fails 
to make correct estimate and the tenant will be held liable 
for the expenses in case the Mukhis or the Matadors fail to 
make correct estimate. The expenses will be borne equally 
in cases in which both the parties fail. The number of 
persons appointed as suppervisors will not exceed two per 
threshing ground. 



32 Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

13. Sisodia Kalusinguji Navalsinghji will not be allowed to 
interefere in revenue matters. 

14. No lax will be levied on the mango trees which arc in 
their possession and the Mahowra trees which arc in their 
compound. Dried wood of such Mahowra trees will be 
taken by Estate. 

15. The rates of the price of Vaji grain will be fixed by me; but 
in case of necessity I am not bound to receive the Vaji m 
cash. 

16. Labourers who will be called on special work will be paid 
at the rate of annas two per diem. This rate will vary 
in the case of children. The wages "will be paid in cash and 
nobody will be pressed to accept corn in lieu of cash. 

17. A Manu will be a measure which will contain 10 seers 
of maize. 

18. The right called Sukhadi will be continued in the upper as 
well as the lower patta and 4 seers instead of 6 seers will be 
taken as Sukhadi from the villagers of Amadra, Mohobat- 
pura, Laxmanpura, Dadhawan and Samaiya as a special 
favour. 

19. The right of taking service such as watching, errand by 
turns, etc. will continue. 

20. I have a right to take veth (forced labour) from the 
Damores of Dadhawan. Up till now they did not get 
anything as remuneration but henceforth a piece of land 
will be given rent free to each house in consideration for 
their services The area of such land will be equal to one 
which will allow ten seers of grain to be sown therein. 

21. I pardon the five ringleaders Nanama Kodar Soma, Pandor 
Kala Dewjee, Kharadi Jiwa Kushga, Nanama Sankla 
Dhula and Kala Dhula-who took prominent part in sub- 
mitting a petition in English to the Idar State against me. 

I pass this agreement as a special favour to my subjects. 

AMNAGAR (Sd/-) 

PRATHI SINGH 
Thakore of Pal 


Dated ; 24th Feb., 1910 



Bhil-Movements 


33 


The above agreement encouraged the Bhils to fight the age- 
old feudal exploitation. This was a clear indication of their power 
that they won through their efforts. The above success was the 
result of Govindgir’s movement. Now the social religious reform 
movement took economic-political character. 

Govindgir remained in the Bhil areas of Gujarat up to 
1910. In the beginning of 1911 he again came to his native 
place Vedsa in the Dungarpur State. There he established his 
Dhuni and started preaching on modern lines in which he 
preached not only religious ideas but also about the freedom of 
the Bhils from fedual and colonial exploitation. He also established 
Dhtmies in the villages of the Bhil centres. Every new Dlnim was 
guarded by /To/ivo/j appointed by Govindgir himself 32 Through 
these activities Govindgir built up a parallel government The 
Kotwals appointed by him were not merely religious heads, but 
they were also the incharge of their concerned areas in all respect 
They also used to settle the disputes among the Bhils. 

Vedsa became the centre of Govindgir’s activities. The 
Bhils from Idar, Sunth, Banswara and Dungarpur States and 
Panchmahal and Khera districts used to come to Govindgir. The 
influence of this movement was engulfing the Southern Rajputana 
States and British areas of Bombay Presidency. In April 1913 
Govindgii was ai rented by the Dungarpur Police and all his 
belongings were attached and the Police threatened to make him 
swerve from religious faiih. His family was also placed under 
police custody. Within three days of his arrest he was released 
from prison and advised to move out of Dungarpur territories. He 
accordingly moved about April, 1913 into Idar State to a village 
called Rojada.33 Here the Raja of Idar also attempted to 
arrest him. 

* The harassment met b y Govi ndgir and his follower s 
compelled them to establish the Bhil Raj and liberate themselves 
from the c lutches of feudalism and colon ialism'.* Govindgir replied 
to persecution by inciting his followers against the states and 
Jagirdars and claimed protection from them. He planned to 
establish a Bhil State. From Idar State he moved with followers 
to the hill of Mangarh on the border ©f Banswara and Sunth 
States.34 The hill was surrounded by thick and formidable forest. 



34 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


so It was naturally protected. He and his followers formed a 
defensive position, which they provisioned and roughly fortified 
on this hill. The choice of this hill was no doubt influenced by 
the fact that it was situated close to the Mahi river which formed 
the boundary of the former Dungarpur state and thus the 
gathering might be able to move in the direction of Banswara, 
Dunprpur, Sunth, Idar, states and other adjoining areas. 
Govindgir reached on the Mangarh hill in October 1913 and 
messangers were sent out to collect the Bhils on the hill.35 They 
brought with them large supplies of provision and arms. It was 
ramoured that the Bhils would attack the state of Sunth on 25th 
ctobcr, four days before the Dipawali. In fact, the hardcore 
to owers were asked by Govindgir to come on the hill. These 
lollowers before leaving for Mangarh alerted the Bhil pals to be 
I^cpared for armed action against the authorities. A section of 
e assembled Bhils was to be remain on Mangarh to protect the 
mam gaddi of the Bhil Raj under the leadership of Govindgir and 
the other section was to disperse in their areas to lead the 
revolution with the instructions and blessings of their Guru. 

On 3pth October, 1913 the Police Inspector of Sunth 
ordered the Jamadar of Police Yusufkhan and constable Gul 
Mohammed to go towards Mangarh and endeavour to find out 
" St Mas going on. The two policemen accordingly went out on 
the 3 1 St October. These two policemen M'cre seized by the Bhils 
an one was killed and the other was severely beaten with tongs 
and kept prisoner at Mangarh.37 On 1st November, a part of 
the Bhils attacked the Sunth fort of Paratapgarh but returned 
without success.38 These developments alarmed the states of 
Sunth, Banswara, Dungarpur and Idar. All the states approa- 
ched their concerned British officers to suppress the Bhils who 
were in a rebellious mood. Between 6th to 10th November, 
1913 two companies of the Mewar Bhil corps, one company of 
104th Wellesley s Rifles, one company of 7th Rajput regiment and 
a machine gun detachment of the 7th Jats regiment arrived to 
suppress the assembly of the Bhils on Mangarh hill.39 

The forces marched through the troubled areas to create 
terror in the minds of the Bhils and ultimately the forces encircled 
the Mangarh hill by 10th November, 1913. Flocks of Bhils M-erc 
moving towards the hill from various directions. The forces 



Bhil-Mo vements 


35 


compelled them to return to their villages. Many innocent Bhils 
were killed by the forces to terrorise. The forces created blockade 
around the hill. The Bhils who had to return accelerated their 
efforts to prepare for revolt, but without the orders of their Guru 
they could not do much. They were cutoff from their Guru and 
the blockade, created by the forces broke their communication 
with the Mangarh hill. On the morning of the 10th November, 
the commissioner. Northern division (Bombay Govt ) went towards 
Mangarh with a small force escort and was turned back by an 
armed party of Bhils.40 The forces reached relatively closer to 
Mangarh and the British officer trieu to meet Govindgir by 
shouting loudly On 12th November a deputation of the Bhils 
came down the hill and handed over a letter containing a state- 
ment of their grievances and conditions of agreement. The letter 
sent by Govindgir was suggestive of the Bhil Raj.43 The condi- 
tions presented were very much revolutionary in nature. 


During the discussions, the British ofiicers^a told them that 

they wete in sympathy with iheir reform movement, but it was 
rebellion to assemble in army m such a large number and to 
fortify themselves on a hill. The Bhtl deputation was told that 
they should first disperse and return home and only then their 
grievances would be redressed. '^The Bhil deputation picssed their 
grievances and made clear that they were not prepared to submit 
before the authorities. Both the parties were adamant on theii 
stand, so they could not reach any agreement. The British officers 
gave them a written promise signed by the Political Agent 
Rewakahtha, the Superintendent, Hilly tracts, and the Political 
Agent, Southern Rajputana States, to the effect that their religion 
would not be interfered with and that instruction to this effect 
would be issued to all states and districts. The British officers 
then departed after arranging a meeting on the next day The 
letter written by the officers was as under ;43 


“We have received your application and are very glad to 

and thefts and other vices and have taken to religion. We will 
never force you to drink liquor or ask you to do the above 
mentioned bad things. We vould also issue orders to every state 
hat they should not compel you to commit these sins, but we can- 
tolerate your gathering in such a large number with arms in 



36 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


one place. If you wish lo worship, you can do anywhere, but we 
do not approve of your assembling in such a large number. We 
will send our troops on to the hill tomorrow. You arc, therefore, 
warned that before daybreak you will all come down the hill and 
if any remains on the hill he should not fight. If he docs so, he 
will be killed.” 

The above letter was full of threats to the Bhils on Mangarh 
but it could not succeed in discouraging them. The efforts of the 
British officers to induce the Bhils to get down the hill without any 
blood shed were continued. But along with the peaceful efforts 
military preparations were also continued. There was a great 
possibility of military attacks on Bhils. Again on I4th November 
Govindgir sent a letter written in a philosophical tone to the 
British officers. Here it will be interesting to reproduce this 
letter 

The humble request of the applicant Sanyasi (ascetic) 
Govindgirji Rajugarji, belonging to the Dashnami Panth (a reli- 
gious sect of Sadbus) originally inhabitant of Vansia-Vedasa 
(villages) under Dungarpur but now living on the Mangadh Hill 
on the Sunth Banswara border is as under : — 

Formerly I had built a hut in the village of Vedasa (in 
Dungarpur) and lived there with my family. At that time I 
lived among the poor, submissive and wild people, e.g Bhils, Kolis, 
etc., who had no idea of the Creator; and I maintained myself by 
begging handfuls of flour (from those people). To those who came 
to my hut there I used to advise to behave like savkars (i.e., the 
higher classes). Through the Providence of the Almighty i^i.e. as 
prearranged by God in some of our former births) those people 
Nugaras (wild) as they were, expressed desire to be made Sugaras 
(i.e. civilised) and to have me as their Guru (priest). I 
thereupon undertook to preach these people of Vedasa and 
surrounding country and made them my chelas (disciples). I 
showed them the path of religion and truth; and preached them to 
worship God; not to commit theft, adultery, deception, etc., not to 
cherish feelings of enmity for others but to regard all as the pro- 
geny of the same parents (the Creator) and live peacefully with 
others; to follow agriculture and to maintain themselves (thereby) 
not to believe in Virs, Vantaras, Bhopas, etc. (i.e. ghosts, witches, 
enchanters and other superstitious beings); but as a safeguard 



Bhil-Movements 


37 


against them to establish Dhunis (firepits) and nishans (flags) and 
to worship these; I asked them that those who w’ere my disciples 
should wrap round their heads yellow coloured safas (Fetas), 
should wear rosaries of Rudraksh (beads of diflTerent sizes resembl- 
ing the seeds of berries and produced in Nepal) round their necks; 
should not carry dangerous weapons such as swords, rifles, bows 
and arrows etc. but only iron tongs; should bathe and wash them- 
selves every morning, should not kill animals of any kinds. In 
this way I preached them the path of truth. These people found 
all that to be so good and easy (i.e. acceptable and practicable) 
that the number of disciples went on increasing; so much so that 
at present there arc about four or five lakhs of people among whom 
this (Bhakti) creed has spread. This is well-known to your honour. 
Though it was, a custom of long standing with our sadhus to take 
Rs. 1-4-0 (one and a quarter) as Bhekh and Bana (i.e. presenta- 
tion and earnest money) from each person at the time of admitt- 
ing him as a disciple, yet 1 stopped it and began to take only 
Rs. 0-1-3 (one and quarter anna) from each person for admitting 
him as my disciple. In the meantime the officials of these Rajas 
misinformed their Rajas to the effect that this Bava (meaning my- 
self) is a pretender and is looting (i.e. deceiving) the ryots. The 
Rajas through egotism and arrogance of their position (kingdom) 
did not inquire into the truth (or otherwise) of the report and the 
Raja of Dungarpur arrested and imprisoned me all of a sudden; 
attached my (little) saving out of begging and threatened me very 
much to make me swerve from ray religious faith; so much so that 
my wife and children were also placed under police custody. But 
the Creator is the Protector of Truth and so my Lord helped me 
in getting released from imprisonment after three days. Iran 
away at once from that place and repaired to the village of Rojada 
in the Idar State where I lived (established myself ) among the 
Banjaras of my caste. After I was there for some time, this religion 
spread there also and the Raja of Idar attempted to arrest me. I 
know that their intentions was to desecrate and molest the religious 
Bhakti (worship) which was preached by me; and I left that place; 
and in view of such constant great harassment I came to this intense 
and formidable jungle. No sooner did I enter this jungle than the 
Jemadar of the outpost of the Sunth State came there and instan- 
taneously attempted to drive me away and made julum on me 
(harassed me). .Then he ran away and (them) made a false renort 



38 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


that a frce-booter bava (meaning myself) liad come to the jungle 
and bad burnt the Police Station in the frontier and killed a 
Jcmadai. Without inquiry into the truth of falsity of this report, 
you were informed of this. 

I then sent men to request the Sunth Durbar that out of the 
flags of Dhunis, tongs, Safas (Fetas), tamburas etc., which the 
Durbar had ordered to be confiscated in preventing my disciples 
from woi shipping and which were lying in each of the Police 
Stations of the state those that were in the Khedapa outpost may 
be restored to me if not to those my disciples (from whom they 
w’ere taken) and he would not mind the matter. But before my 
men entered (their premises) and without ashing them any question 
(as to their object of coming) they wcie fired upon; and fourteen 
of my men were shot dead theic and then. There are dead bodies 
of some of them still lying there if prompt inquiry be made about 
them all will soon be appaicnt to vou. Inquiry' will also show (to 
you) that others were wounded too. ** Being in this way greatly 
harassed, I tvith my disciples have removed ourselves to this hill 
only with the object of saving our lives and woshipping (God) out * 
of sheer fear.*' Now I submit that my disciples in Sanjeli, Kadana, 
etc. will be harassed as stated below and so 1 request that these our 
grievances should be redressed. ''I am a poor and innocent Sadhu. 

I fly from place to place, being constantly harassed, to continue 
my Bhakti (worship)" You are the ruler of the four corners, (i.e. 
of the world) so your honour will (please) redress the following 
grievances ; 

1. In every village the fiiepits of my religious sect have been 
dug out and Mahomedans have been made to make water 
on them, tongs, safas, flags religious books, coconuts, etc. 
have been ordered to be confiscated by the Sunth Stale and 
aie in the possession of the fojdars of the State. These should 
be ordered to be returned. 

' 2. In all villages the firepits and flags of my religion should be 
reestablished as they originally were. 

3. As before, people should be allowed to attend the fairs, to 
have right of (and pay respects to) the Dhunis and nishans 
I (firepits and flags) on the new moon day, full moon day, the 
eleventh day and other holidays of the Hindus. 



Bhil-Movements 


39 


4. For me to erect a house to live in, the Kharaba land of this 
hill should be ordered to be granted to me. 

5. The State (sarkar) should offer no interference with the 
income to be derived by me from the firepits and flags. 

6. It should be arranged that the State should in no wise 
object to my disciples visiting my place of residence (the 
holy Guru Dwar-the door or residence of the priest). 

7. Except the State no subordinate servants should be allowed 
to exact veth from my disciples and none should take from 
my disciples any thing cheaper than ^tthe ordinary price. 

8. All bribes taken by the State officers in connection with my 
religious faith should be ordered to be refunded to us. 

9. Proper enquiry should be made as to the murder of my men 
without reason by the Thanedar of the fort (of Partapgarh) 
and I may be compensated for dishonouring me. 

10. I have not appointed any body as the head of my disciples. 
But yet, some of my principal (respectable) disciples are 
suspected as being seditious such as Punja Dbira; Patel of 
Dungar, and Patels of Batakwada, Partapgarh, Kyar, 
Bandara, Ghughas, Molara, Babari, Patwel, Aptalai, etc., so 
proper bandobast should be made so that after this matter 
has been settled the Sunth Durbar Saheb may not harass 
them on account of the above suspicion of sedition. 

11. I should not be harassed or prevented from going with my 
disciples from village to village for preaching. 

12. Free (Dharamada) timber should be granted'from the reser- 
ved forest for erecting roofs over my Dhunis (firepits) in 
monsoon in eveiy village. 

13. Permission should be given to me to erect samadhis or deris 
(small temples) over the tombs of my two deceased sons 
who are interred at Molara village (as I intend to do). 

14. Except the Raj (i e. the Raja) the uncle of the Raja should 
not take veth from the disciples. 

15. The Raja Saheb employs such persons as Dewan as he likes 
and passes harassing orders on the ryots. This should be 
but to a stop to; and the British Government should appoint 



40 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


a Dewan of its own for the protection of the ryots and my- 
self; such as the Parsi Dewan in the time of (the late) 
Maharana Partap Singhji, who (Parsi Dewan) fixed the 
vigholi (settlement). 

16. For my protection, a battalion of 200 Bhils my disciples — 
with rifles should be employed by the British Government 
in the Sunth State; and permission should be given to me to 
retain 100 rifles. 

17. My disciples should be paid at Rs. 2 per 1000 bundles of 
grass that they are made to cut for the State. At present 
people of Ratnpur Division are paid at Re. 1 and those of 
other village at Rs. 0.4 0 per 1000 bundles of grass cut by 
them. This should be put to stop to and they should be 
paid at the above rate. 

18. Two men of Babrol who were my disciples have been prose- 
cuted and imprisoned without evidence. The papers of this 
case should be sent for and looked into and they should be 
released. 

19. My disciples have been forced to drink liquor; and food 
cooked on the Dhunis (firepits) has been polluted by sepoys. 
What is their object in such desecration ? 

20. My disciples do the veth of the State. It should be taken 
from them in an equitable manner. 

21. My disciples should not be prevented from putting on 
ornaments and coloured clothes necessary for their religious 
rites. 

22. The security bonds of Rs. 500/- taken from my disciples for 
coming to me should be cancelled. 

23. Punjo Dhirji, Patel of Dungar, is innocent and yet warrants 
have been issued to the poli' e to arrest him. Again the 
Thanedar of Kberappa has reported falsely that he (Punja) 
burnt the Gadra outpost and killed a Jemadar. He (Punja) 
has not done any such thing. So he should be declared 
innocent and given immunity. 

24. At present the State servants take their rounds in villages 
and threaten to arrest and beat my disciples. So their 



Bliil-Movements 


41 


rounds should be stopped and the Sunth Ltarbar should give 
assurance to them that they will not be harrassed and 
should be given immunity. 

25. Darbar Saheb (i.e. the Sunth Raja) calls bis children (i.c. 
his ryots) by salas (i.e. wife’s brother). This being abusive 
should be stopped and the Rajas attachment to debauchery 
should be checked and he should be led to the path of 
religion. 

26. Through fear of th- State and of being murdered, my disci- 
ples have run away to jungles; and so their crops have 
suffered. The State should not increase the vero (land 
revenue), and should give remissions to those whose crops 
have suffered much. Civil suits and execution of decrees 
of Savkars should be postponed this year. 

27. I appoint Sheth Gulabchand Hamirchand of Rampur as my 
Mukhtyar to come to me and obtain my replies and 
explanations. So the state should not object to his keeping 
such men as he wants; and proper bandobast should be 
made that no harassment is offered to him or to his men 
subsequently. 

28. In making enquiries into the truth or falsity of all this, the 
servants and ryots of the Sunth State should not be allowed 
to mix (i.e. have a hand in it). 

29. When the matter is settled a Tliarav (document of decision) 
bearing your honour’s seal and signature should be given 
to me. 

The above are my and my disciples grievances. You are 
the sole lord (authority) to save us from them and to save 
the lives of the millions of people. 

30. This ryot is of the Rajaji and yet they have to suffer a great 
deal in building houses. For, when they apply for free 
grants and timber for houses, they get them after about two 
years and that too insufficient (i.e. only sufficient to make a 
mala, i.e. a temporary shade on four posts erected in fields 
to watch crops). Moreover all intestate property (escheat) 
is taken by the State. Therefore the Mahalkari should 



Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


follow the old practice and give sufficient timber promptly. 
The prohibition to cut bamboos should be removed and the 
State should not take the intestate (escheat) property. 
Moreover opium sold at 4 bhars (tolas) for a rupee in 
Vaghad (in the adjoining territory) it is sold at 2 bhars 
(tolas) for a rupee here. There should be the same rate for 
opium here and in Vaghad. Firewood is the sole means 
for the poor people to protect themselves from cold. So 
that there should be freedom to the people to get dry fire- 
wood (i.e. there should be no restriction to people fetching 
fire woods from the jungle). 

31. No interest should be charged (by the state) on Tagavi 
advances; the levies on fruit trees and fees on stones, 
chunam kankar should be done away with. 

32. The vighoti (land revenue) fixed or to be fixed should be 
remitted on all land cultivated by the poor people; and the 
land revenue should be assessed according to the old custom. 
Ryots should be given permanent permits to keep swords 
and guns such as are given to the frontier people. 

33. Our fair is to last for one month and a half and seven days 

‘ more. So we sit quietly and repeat the name of the Lord. 

My residence is in the middle of two boundaries. Here we 
have facilities of water and firewood and so my disciples 
come here to pay their respects on the fair days such as the 
new moon and full moon. I have buried (i.e. forgotten) 
all my worldly miseries and have confined myself here; 
and yet my disciples have been subjected to harassment. 
You should be considerate and careful for what you do. On 
one side (our side) is the word (divine word); on the other 
(i.e. your side) is order (i.e. power or authority). One party 
(we) is vedi (i.e. knower of truth) the other party (your) is 
bhedi (i.e. practiser of all worldly activities). Speak out, 
sir, don’t ask about (i.e. look to) our actions and it is not 
for us to ask about (i.e. to look to) the actions of the States. 
Pray don’t intimidate the people; let them do their Bhakti 
(worship). They are all your ryots; if they do not obey 
your laws, tell me (i.e. I may be answerable for it) But jf 
you will kill them while they are doing their worshipping, 



Bhil-Movemerits 


43 


you will have to answer for it before the Lord I do Pot 
admit among my disciples (such persons as) the eaters of 
pigs and cows, drinkers of liquor, the greedy, the practisers 
(sic) of falsehood and deception, back-biters, thieves, liars 
the debauched and such other doers of evil deeds Females 
ofBanias, Brahmins and Rajputs become child-widows and 
then practise immorality. Can they be called Satis (chaste) 
or papis (sinners). These (Bhils) are poor people-worms of 
earth — they till land and throw a handful of grain in it. A 
wallet and gourd (a beggar’s all) is my lot and I accept that 
pleasantly. I want nothing and from nobody. I lake from him 
who gives without asking. Therefore, pray do not harass me. 
I have a claim over nobody. In the month of Diwali (i.c. 
the last hindu month) I travelled to my garden (probably 
the hills) but even there have been harassed. The Thanedar 
ofidar, the Thanedar ofLunawada and the uncle of the 
Darbar, these asked for bribes from me; and as I did not 
give it to them they said they would ease themselves on my 
Dhunis (firepits) and kill fowls and goats in them and would 
molest my flag. So saying they came to arrest me and 
then through fear I have hidden myself in the Mangarh Hill. 
In this age of ‘Kaliyuga’ (Iron age) your Empire is on the 
full swing; so you should tender justice to us and discrimi- 
nate milk from water and save the lives oferores of living 
beings. The authorities in Sanjeli have burnt away my flags; 
the Sunth Darbar practiced great julum on us. I have 
completed six years of my worship and six more arc 

remaining. I shall meet you. You are great indeed great 

as keeper of human beings within law-great as to keep kings 
and ryots within (the limits) of law. You Sarkars, are my 
Panch and my representative. I am to attack, kill or loot 
nobody. I am following my worshipping actions (i.e. 
religious rites). Because none of the States would allow me 
to live below (i.e. in the plains) and because they will 
molest me and my worship, therefore, I have taken myself to 
this hill for my own prestige. I am innocent. I (Govindgirji) 
am the disciple of Rajugarji, who was a disciple of Solagar- 
ji, who again was the disciple of Ghotagariji of the great 
Akhada (institution) of Bundi (a town in Rajputana) I am a 



44 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


Sansari, i.c. worldly man (i.c. have my family) and I have 
children. Pray do not harass and injure me. Bhekh 
(begging) is the attribute or symbol of God Sankar. Have 
fear of the Lord. All have to die. (so) have some mercy 
and religious spirit. Do not practise fraud or false-hood on 
me. Do nod attack me through anger. If my intentions be 
fradulent towards the Raja or ryots, then let the very Bhekh 
the religion swallow me. And if you practise any fraud 
against me then let your religion swallow you. Let our 
respective religions swallow us (if we practise any fraud 
against each other.) He who digs a pit will fall into it. 
As one sows, so he reaps As one acts so he reaps the fruits 
of his actions. You should decide all this and tender us 
justice and then go your way; otherwise' your field will be 
spoiled (i.e. perhaps the whole affair will be spoiled). I am 
Guru of these people; there are three things for a Guru 
(Priest) : to raise these people (from their wild habits). 
Guru mantra (some sacred formula to be communicated by 
the Guru to all disciples and to be constantly repeated by 
the latter), the word of Guru. I have with me nothing else, 
no pretensions or deceptions. I rely upon the name of the 
Lord, I have accepted the one (divine) Word (as true); I 
have faith in the Bhekh (life of a beggar) which is the 
attribute to symbol of God. You are great. Pray do not 
throw a five-seer weight (i.e. a heavy weight) on an ant. 
Sooner or later all have to go (i.e. to die). Righteousness 
will be lasting, the Divine Word is the protector of Jogis’ 
righteousness, I trust your word and then if there is any 
breach of trust in this, then we will fight till death and my 
children will be in a helpless condition. If you will annoy 
the Bhagats (my worshippers) it will not have good results. 
Here in my place of residence every morning as many as one 
thousand Sadhus are fed. To meet this expenditure, you 
should ascertain and fix the amount of my lagat (levy) of 
Bhekh (alms) i.e, fix the rate of which I should collect my 
dues from all communities. I appoint the following per- 
'sons on my behalf to settle this matter in obedience to your 
honour’s orders ; — 


1. Seth Sarafali Salemanji of Rampur 



Bhil-Movemenis 


45 


2. Mehta Ghhaganlal Punatnchand of Rampur. 

3. Vanjara Lakha Jivan. 

4. Paragi Gendal Jorji of Batakwada. 

5. Salji J orji of Batakwada. 

6. Munia Teja Gala and Munia Punja Gala of Garadu in 
the Jhalod Taluka. 

7. Vanjara Dudha Kashala 

I appoint the above named persons as my mukhtyars to 
settle this matter The above is the application of this poor 
Sadhu.” 


“I do not want to interfere with anybody. I do not wish 
to rule State, nor to plunder any town I am sitting by the old 
Dhuni with my emblems of worship which I have found on this 
hill. I live on grain given to me by others I do not commit 
theft nor advise my disciples to do so. If they do not observe my 
precepts there is no good of my being their Guru. All these 
people have assembled here out of regard towards me. You have 
been misled. You are not illiterate and you should not have 
come under the influence of others What harm have we done 
that you are displeased. We are not thieves. The world is 
mortal. We only want grain to live and clothes to cover ourselves. 
We will be satisfied if you will simply allow us to observe our 
religion, faith, goodness, confidence and trust. Why have you 
come upon us with such a large force ? You can rule. We are 
content with our religion. '^The Bhils have run away to the hills 
out of dread because they and their females have been insulted 
and dishonoured. They have been forced to drink liquor and eat 
buffaloes. The Guru was also disgraced. The Hindus and 
Muhammadans have forsaken their religions. Hindus have be- 
come atheists. We do not allow Muhammadans to cat flesh and 
drink. Muhammadans force us to eat beef and destroy our 
religion For all these reasons we have gone to the hills as we are 
helpless. Rajputs are so cruel that they kill their girls so that 
they may not give in marriage to others In the same way they 
have been so cruel towards the Bhils that they beat them without 
enquiring whether they are right or wrong. The Rajputs do not 
allow their young widows to re-marry, and if these girls become 
widows in young age the sin of infant widowhood is on their head 



46 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


u 

because they remain unhappy in that life and are miserable. The 
Sarkar is also to blame for this shortcoming. '*lNfo true Brahman is 
seen. The thread is now the only mark of Brahmanism and who- 
ever puts in on is a Brahman. They are as sinful as Rajputs and 
their widows are also guilty of miscarriage. These three castes 
dare not come to us. The Muhammadans are infidels and take 
interest on money and cat boar’s flesh which is prohibited in their 
religion. These people who are such infidels destroyed our 
worship. They do not like a religion which preaches good mora- 
lity. You can judge whether it is good or bad. '*For the sake of 
this worship we have .sacrificed our wealth, family, grain, and 
everything and have taken refuge in these jungles for the sake of 
salvation either in this life or in next life. Our sin does not allow 
us to settle anywhere. You will ask these states whether we have 
committed any theft or murder. We have done noting of the kind 
but only worship. We are Banjaras by birth. We are not so 
clever as the trading class. We are ordained to live by cultivation. 
Though we are worldy men we have taken to the hills as our 
religion is being destroyed. The following are Gosains (hermits) 
of Bundi Dasnami Akhada (hermitages) : 

Giri Name 

Ghola Garji. 

Salan Garji. 

Raju Garji. 

and this unfortunate Govind Girji. You can enquire from them 
by telegram whether this is a new religion or is spread all over the 
world ? The Bhils accepted me as their sad Guru, and I invited 
them seeing their true zeal towards me and they became my dis- 
ciples. I enquired about their religious custom and settled with 
the Panch. We take you to be just and fair. Weigh justice and 
then kill us. The disciples have come to their Guru for Darshan 
(worship). If there be a fear of their doing any mischief they can 
bound down, under the village tieadmen’s bond The disciples 
will have to suffer the consequence of their past deed as the 
father for his own. The Guru’s advice is that whoever observes 
religion will get salvation. For example, as you sow., so you will 
reap. He who docs evil will suffer. As is your action, so is the 
consequence. We have come into this world to expiate the sins 
of our previous existences. The more evil we do in this world the 



Bhil-Movemenis 


47 


more we will suffer. Wc shall not have kingdom to rule by mere 
crying for it nor by force. None is master of our lives. I am 
here with full conception of my past deeds and live upon a hand- 
ful of grain presented by the Bhil devotees in their jungle. If I 
and my heirs ever come down from the hill to loot a village let 
us be blown from the guns. I have full faith in my Creator who 
resides in (the ark of) my Dhuni. They (my disciples) are conten- 
ted. Whatever little they get they distribute. If they get clothes 
they can put them on, if not they would kindle fire and sit thereby. 
They are not adulterous. They have given up all vices We 
only work for our livelihood in this regard in the next. This wor- 
ship is for the next life for, as Kabir (the Hindu poet) says, what 
vve do will bear fruits some day or other (Some lines of poetry) our 
actions follow us and overtake us though we fly a hundred 
leagues away. The strong should not make a bad use of their 
power and you should not destroy our devotion (fakiri). You are 
the monarch of the country. In this iron age there is no justice. 
Sin will overtake you one day. Do not use force. Have some 
regard for our feelings. God will bless you. Do not harass people. 
Fire is burning in our heart. There is no one in the world to 
extinguish it; only you can do it You are the guardian saint of 
our people. You are sensible people. We have “Guru Mantra” 
(incantations of Guru). Confide the word of a holy guru. Sooner 
or later we have to die. We may obtain salvation only through 
woiship; do not destroy our religion.” 

^ The States were requesting for an early removal of the 
Bhils from the Mangarh hill. For instance, the Dungarpur Chief 
wrote to the Political Agent, Southern Rajputana, about the 
gravity of the situation. He wrote that -‘The delay caused in your 
settling the Bhils is having a bad effect here. Bhils arc gathering 
in Pals praying that the British forces will be defeated and Bhil 
Baba Govindgir will win as he has supernatural powers, and the 
delay is being caused because the sahibs are frightened of attacking 
the Babas. Unless you do something effective now, the Bhils here 
and I feel confident in Mewar and Idar will also give trouble. 
Excuse this letter, but I cannot let occasion pass without informa- 
tion. Bhils in Limrutara Pal are already giving trouble, and I am 
trying all I can to keep them quiet.”^5 



48 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


On 1 7th November troops marched on MangarJi hill. Most 
of the forces took position on another hill infront of Mangarh 
where they set the machine gun. The forces fired from that hill 
and the Bhils tried to resist for one hour. But the BhiJs could 
not resist and they started to run away to save themselves. The 
troops posted below Mangarh hill encircled the hill and started 
climbing up. Nearby 100 of the Bhils died and 900 were 
arrested.46 Their main leaders Govindgir and Punjia, were cap- 
tured. Punjia was the first who surrendered and induced the others 
to surrender. Both the leadeis weie immediately shifted to the 
Ahmadabad jail. Nearby eight hundreds were released after a 
week and others were kept in the Sunth Jail for trial.^'^ The news of 
this incident spread over the Bhil villages which disheartened 
them. The troops returning to Ahmadabad, Baroda, Kherwara and 
Udaipur marched through the Bhil areas and created terror by 
shouting and shooting. Thus, the Bhil revolution was crushed 
mercilessly. 

Though the i-cvolt failed but it had far Teachings effects. 
Mangarh hill became the symbol of the Bhil inspirations. The 
British officers imposed restrictions upon the Bhils to go to 
Mangarh hill either singly or in numbers for next two years 
without the written consent of the Darbar concerned. 

Of the one hundred persons arrested, 30 were identified as 
ringleaders of the Bhil revolt. Twenty seven persons were tried 
by a special court constituted for this. Remaining 70 persons who 
were mostly Mukhias, Patel and Ganietis (head of Bhil villages) 
were handed over to the states concerned where they were tried by 
a special courts. The 30 persons who were tried by a special 
court were charged with serious offences such as murder, banditry, 
spreading disharmony and class hatered and waging war against 
the States. The decision in this case was given in an arbitrary 
manner. '^Baba Govindgir was given death sentence, Punjia 
Dhirji life imprisonment and others were given three years 
rigorous imprisonment. Out of thirty, six persons were let free 
from prosecution. 38"^ The special court mentioned above was 
constituted mainly by Political and Military officers as judges, 
which was unjustifiable. Here it will be pertinent to quote the 
judgement which was as under : 



Bhil- Movements 


49 


JUDGEMENT 

^ ‘-Without entering into unnecessar-y' detail, the history of 
the movement which culminated in the rising of the Bhils in 
October and November 1913, and which was suppressed only at 
the cost of several lives, is as follows : — 

Govindgir, a Banjara by caste, and a resident of Versa or 
Vedsa in Dungarpur State, has been engaged in the laudable task 
of improving the morals and habits and religious practices of the 
Bhils during 1912 and the early part of 1913. He succeeded in 
attracting to him as disciples (Ghelas) so many of the Bhils, that 
the matter became notorious, and the Dungarpur Durbar became 
alarmed at the rapid spread of the reformed faith. The Dungarpur 
Police took action, and arrested Govindgir and his family. The 
arrest, however, seemed likely to cause an unexpected commotion 
amongst the Bhils and Govindgir was forthwith released, and 
advised to move out of Dungarpur territory. 

He accordingly moved, about April, 1913, into the Idar 
State, to a place called Bela Rojda, where he stayed amongst his 
own class of Banjaras. Here according to Govindgir’s own story, 
he was waited on by a deputation of Bhils who had collected at 
Salagra Mahadeo, in Banswara, just before the Dewali. Govindgir 
accompained the deputation, and arrived at Mangarh Hill some- 
time in October. 1913. Messages were sent out to collect the 
Bhils at Mangarh, and very large number arrived, for the fame of 
Govindgir as a teacher had been noised abroad. Here the preli- 
minary stoi7 ends, and the future proceedings formed the subject 
matter of the trial by the Special Court. 

The Bhil gathering on Mangarh Hill assumed such large 
proportions that the neighbouring States of Sunth in the Bombay 
Presidency and Banswara in Rajputana become seriously alarmed. 
At the instance of the Banswara Durbar, the Political Agent, 
Rewa Kantha, was telegraphed to by the Political Agent, Southern 
, States, Rajputana on the 18th October to secure the arrest of 
Govindgir, and this was followed by a vernacular letter, dated 
18th October asking for the arrest of Govindgir (accused No. 1) 
and Punja (accused No. 2). 

The Raja of Sunth was addressed by telegram on the 20th 
October. 



50 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


On tlic 30th October the Police Inspector of Sutuh ordered 
the Jamadar of Police Yusufkhan and Constable Gul Mohammed 
from the Gadra Post to go towards Mangarli and endeavour to 
find out what was going on. The two Policemen accordingly went 
out on the Slst October. They met some Bhils who seized and 
beat them so severely it is alleged that Gul Mohammed was killed. 
Yusufkhan was carried to Mnngarh hill, where he remained a 
prisoner until November, 15th. 

On the 1st November, an attack was made on the fort of 
Partapgarh, whicli was occupied by .some fifteen Sunth Police and 
Thakurs. The attack was driven off, svith a loss to the Bhils of at 
least one man. That the attack, whether premeditated or not. 
was a serious one, and well pushed home is proved by the fact 
that the gate of the fort was hacked by axes. On the other hand, 
no fire arms were used, although the Bhils on the Hill were well 
supplied with guns. 

On the 2nd November, 33 men of the Rewa Kantha 
Agency Police arrived at Sunth to assist the Rajas’ forces. 

On the 2nd or 3rd November, the Bhils arc alleged to have 
looted the village of Bhamri, the Patel of which refused to join the 
other Bhils on Mangarh. 

On the Sth November, the Political Agent, Rewa Kantha, 
accompanied the Commissioner, Northern Division to Sunth and, 
on the 9th November the whole parly accompanied by the 
District Superintendent of Police, Godhra, and 50 of the Agency 
Police proceeded to Partapgarh Fort. The same day, the Political 
Agent sent a letter to Govindgir and received reply. On the 10th 
November the Commissioner himself went towards Mangarh, and 
was turned back by an armed party of Bhils on the hill. He then 
telegraphed for a Company of the 104th Wellesley’s Rifles from 
Baroda and Machine gun detachment from the 7th Rajputs from 
Ahmedabad. 

On the 11th November, Major Hamilton, Political Agent, 
of the Southern States, Rajputana and Captain Stockley with the 
advance party of the Mewar Bhil Corps arrived. On the I2th 
Captain Stockley met some Bhils from Mangarh. who gave him a 
series of complaints against the Native states. On the same 
day, the Political Agent Rewa Kantha, received a long letter of 33 
complaints and grievances against the Native States which he 



Bhil-Movements 


51 


demanded should be redressed. This letter was signed by 
Govindgir, and is shown as Exhibit 3-6. 

On the 13th November, there was an alarm that the Bhils 
were about to attack pertabgarh fort, in which were the Commis- 
sioner and the political agent, Rewa Kantha. 

On this day and on the 14th letters were written to the 
Bhils warning them to leave the hill and even promising them safe 
conduct to come and discuss matters. They weie warned that the 
hill would be cleared on the 15th November. 

On the 15th, orders were issued to clear the hill and the 
troops were actually in motion w'hcn the telegraphic orders of the 
Government of India were received giving the Bhils one more 
opportunity 

That evening the Police Jemadar, Yusuf Khan, was released 
by the Bhils, but the postponement of the attack had the unfortu- 
nate effect of stiffening the resolution of the Bhils to hold the hill 
On the 16th, warnings were again given to the Bhils and the hill 
would be cleared the next day by the troops, and on the 17th the 
force moved forward. The orders given to the Military Officer in 
Command were, to clear the hill with as little bloodshed as 
possible, to arrest Govindgir and Punja especially, and as many 
Bhils as possible for examination by the Commissioner. The 
orders were carried out thoroughly and expeditiously, and in the 
most human manner possible. The Bhils offered a fairly deter- 
mined resistance for some time and then fled. The hill was found 
by our troops to have been well and recently fortified One of 
the sepoys of the 104th was severely wounded, and several Bhils 
were killed and wounded, while about 900 were captured, inclu- 
ding Govindgir and Punja From the remainder, the headmen of 
the Bhils from the Dungarpur Banswara and Sunth States were 
made prisoners, while the others w'ere released. 

Finally, Govindgir, Punja, and four Sunth Bhils, all 
“Gametis” or head men, and twenty four “Gametis” from 
Banswara were brought before the Special Court No accused 
belonging to Dungarpur were brought before the court, as it was 
stated that no “Gametis” from Dungarpur had been found amongst 
the Bhils captured on Mangarh. 


52 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


The thirty persons brought before the Special court 
1 — Govindgir 2 — Punja 3 — Kalu 4 — Kalji 5 — Dharji 6 — Surji 
7 — Halia 8— Gajahand 9 — Kodar 10 — Khuma 11 — Ramla 
12 — Babaria 13 — Vala 14 — Kalia 15 — Meha 16 — Partabia 
17— Jala 18— Bhura 19 — Gajhand 20— Chamna 21— Bijia 
22 — Kanji 23 — Hurji 24 — Kura 25 — Ranja 26 — Tarasia 27 — Suma 
28 — Khuma 29 — Kalia and 30 — Jotia were all charged with 
offences under sections 121, 121-A of the Penal Code in force in 
the States of Sunth and Banswara. 

The following accused Nos. 1 7 — ^Jala, 26-Tarsia, 27-Suma, 
28 — Khuma, 29 — Kalia and 30— Jotia were acquitted on the 
ground that they were not “Gametis” and that there were no 
reasons for believing that they had taken a larger share in the 
disturbances than other persons, not being Gametis; at the sugges- 
tion of the Court, therefore the Public Prosecutor withdrew from 
prosecution of the above named six accused. 

A further charge was also framed against Punja accused 
No. 2, under section 302 of the Penal code, charging him with the 
murder of Constable Gul Mohammed of the Sunth Police. 

As regards the actual commission of the offence of waging 
war there is no possible manner of doubt. The accused persons 
were all captured by the troops on the actual field of battle, and 
they none of them deny their presence there. From the evidence 
before the court, both oral and documentary it is clear that the 
actual and titular head of the movement was Govindgir, accused 
No. 1, and he is undoubtedly responsible for the acts committed 
by the Bhils on Mangarh. Their war-cry was “Jai Guru Govindji” 
or “Jai Govind Maharaj”. He was believed by many to be a 
reincarnation of the Deity, and was treated as such by many of 
his ignorant followers. He had a guard of Bhils with drawn 
swords around him as he sat, or as he rode in State around the 
defences on the hill. The answers to the letters addressed to 
“The Leader of the Bhils on Mangarh” by the officers below' are 
signed in his name, and with his consent; he admits that he was 
the “Baba” and the others were bis “Chelas”. He admits the 
authorship of the letter of 33 grievances and complaints which 
undoubtedly seeks to subvert the authority and sovereignty of the 
two states of Sunth and Banswara. In this document, he makes 
demands as from one ruler to another. 



53 


Bhil-Movements 

Finally, Govindgir pleads guilty to the charge framed 
against him, and admits his responsibility for the acts of his 
followers. 

As regards, Punja, accused No. 2 he pleads not guilty to the 
charges of waging war and murder. For the first, he claims that 
he was drugged by accused No. 1 and entirely under his influence. 
From the evidence, however, the Court is convinced that Punja, 
accused No. 2, played a very large part in the movement. He 
acted as secretary for Govindgir, (who is illiterate), and some of 
the principal documentary evidence is in his hand writing. He is 
repeatedly referred to in both oral and documentary evidence 
as Govindgir’s right hand man and lieutenant. He took a 
principal part in the capture of the Police Jamadar and Constable, 
was recognised by two witnesses as taking part in the attack on 
Pertabgarh Fort, and by other witnesses (especially his own uncle, 
witness No. 21 for the defence) as being on the Mangarh hill 
during the time the Bhils were assembled there. 

Accused Nos, 3 to 6 admit that they were on the hill- 
knowing that the order to disperse the assembly had been given 
by the Political Officers. They all say they were on the hill for 
three days and desired to go down on the 1 5th, when the Police 
Jamadar was released; but that they were forcibly restrained and 
placed in the stocks. This statement, even if true, shows that they 
joined the assembly on Mangdh on the 14th some days after the 
arrival of the troops and at a time when the orders for the 
dispersal were well known. 

The remaining accused Nos. 7 to 16 and 18 to 24 all admit 
having gone to Mangarh and having stayed various periods from 
one night to four, though only one accused (No. 9) admits having 
been there so long as four days. They call evidence (see witness 
No. 15 for Defence) to state that they were prevented from leaving 
the hill with him, and he himself left the hill on the 13th 
November? 

We cannot believe the witnesses called for the Defence to 
prove that all these accused were forcibly restrained from 
leaving the Hill. The- witnesses were relations or friends 
of the accused for whom they appeared and came forward 
m succession with practically the same story monotonously 



54 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


told; It is improbable that just these particular persons out of 
thousands should have been subjected to physical compulsion. 

A further general defence has been put forward that 
Govindgir (accused No. 1) had threatened that those Bhils who 
did not join the assembly or who, having joined it, should leave 
the Hill, should be consumed with fire or die of disease. We can- 
not give any weight to such a defence. Indeed no form of 
compulsion, not even the fear of instant death, is an adequate 
defence against the charge under these sections. 

We find that Govindgir Becharger (accused No. 1) and 
Punja Dhirji (Accused No. 2) arc guilty of having waged war 
against the States of Sunth and Banswara and thereby committed 
an offence under Section 121 of the Penal Code of Law in force 
in those States. We sentence Govindgir Bechargar to be hanged 
by the neck till he is dead. This sentence is subject to the 
confirmation of the High Court specially appointed in connection 
with this trial. The second accused was the first person on the 
Hill to lay down his arms when called upon to do so; and also was 
of great use in inducing others to do so and so preventing further 
bloodshed. Taking this circumstance into consideration we 
sentence this accused Punja Dhirji to undergo transportation for 
life. 

We furihfer order that all the property of the accused 
persons Govindgir and Punja within the limits of the Sunth or 
Banswara State be forfeited to the respective State in which it is. 

The remaining accused are illiterate and ignorant persons, 
under the spiritual domination of their Bawa Govindgir. All the 
rest of the 900 Bhils captured on the hill have been released and 
these men are being prosecuted only as Gametis or Headmen. 
They are nearly all oldish men and there is nothing to show they 
took a prominent part in any way We do not think it reasonable 
that the penalties attaching to the graver charge should be inflicted 
on them. We reduce the charges against them to charges under 
Section 148 and 149 of the Penal Code. These persons all volun- 
tarily became 'or remained members of an assembly obviously 
unlawful and after they knew that it had been ordered to disperse. 
It is impossible to suppose that any Bhil in the neighbourhood 
W'as ignorant of the arrival of the troops or the purpose for which 



Bhil-Movements 


55 


they had been sent for. They must have known that with a veiy 
numerous force of armed Bhils on the Hill, the advance of the 
troops was likely to be resisted by force of arms, each one of these 
accused there is clearly liable to the punishment for rioting armed 
with deadly weapons, laid down in Section 148 of the Penal 
Code. 

Under that Section and Section 149 we sentence each of 
the accused : 

Kalu Rawaji, (No. 3) 

Kalji Lalji, (No. 4) 

Dharji Koyala, (No. 5) 

Surji Jetha, (No. 6) 

Halia Dhania, (No. 7) 

Gajahang Alia Rajhand Jita, (No. 8) 

Kodar Vahaljidar, (No. 9) 

Khuma Nagjida, (No 10) 

Ramla Narjida, (No. 1 1) 

Babaria Nathia, (No. 12) 

Vahala Bhudia, (No. 13) 

Kalia Dhana, (No. 14) 

Mcha Hamjida, (No. 15) 

Partapia Babran (No. 1 6) 

Bhurajohuda, (No. 18) 

Gajhand Dhola, (No. 19) 

Ghamna Galia, (No. 20) 

Vijiya Fuljida, (No. 21) 

Kanji Nagjida, (No. 22) 

Hurji Lhudia, (No. 23) 

Kura Vagji, (No. 24) 

Ranga Mavaji, (No. 25) 

to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years. 

The further charge of murder has been framed against 
Punja Dhirja (accused No. 2) alone. The evidence shows that on 
the 31st October, Jamadar Yusaf Khan and Constable Gul 
Muhatnmed were ordered by their superiors to reconnoitre the 



56 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


Bhil position on th'* Hill. Both were captured by the Bhils. The 
Jamadar was taken up the Hiil and kept there as a prisoner till the 
15th November. The Constable was never seen again. His uni- 
form belt (identified by the buckle No.) was found on the Hill after 
the action. His heirs have performed the ceremonies usual after 
the death of a relation although his body has not been found we 
are satisfied that his death on the 31st October is proved. There 
are scores of places on the Hill where a body might lie hidden 
until taken off by wild beasts. As to the manner of his death 
there is only one eye-witness (Ex. 12) the Jamadar Yusuf Khan. 
We sec no reason to disbelieve his evidence. His manner impres- 
sed us favourably. The rest of his story, apart from some not 
unnatural embroidery has been amply corroborated. There appears 
to be no motive to impel him to accuse Punja falsely. The accu- 
sation of Punja is not a late invention, because on that very night, 
the 31st October, the Police received information that Gul 
Mohammed had been murdered, and that Punja, w’as concerned 
in his death. When the Jamadar was brought down the Hill his 
statement was taken at the first opportunity by the Political Agent, 
Rewa Kantha, and he then named Punja as having taken part in 
the crime. 

According to the Jamadar’s evidence, Gul Mohammed aftei 
being captured, was brutally beaten to death by Punja, his brother 
Pratap (who has absconded and has not yet been found) and two 
or three others, in circumstances which leave no doubt that the 
offence committed was murder as defined in the Penal Code. 

In view, however, of the fact that the body of the Constable 
was never found, and as after all the case against Punja depends 
entirely on the statement of a single witness (who may conceivably 
be perjuring himself, though we have no reason to doubt his evi- 
dence) we do not think it proper to inflict the penalty of death for 
this offence. 

Accordingly we convict the accused Punja Dhirji of murder 
and sentence him, under Section 302 of the Penal Code of Law in 
force in the Sunth State (where the offence appears to have been 
committed) to undergo transportation for life. 

Pending the result of any appeal which may be made, all 
the accused are ordered to be kept in the Sunth Jail. 



Bhil- Movements 


57 


( (Sd) H. GOUGH, Major. 

Dated 11th Feb. 1914 : — ( 

( (Sd) F.W. ALLISON. 

The accused Govindgir is informed that if he wishes to pre- 
fer an appeal he should do so to the Commissioner, Northern 
Division, within seven days. 

Sentence pronounced in open Court. 

( (Sd) H. GOUGH, Major. 

Dated 11th Feb. 1914 ( 

( (Sd) F.W. ALLISON. 

ORDER FOR DISPOSAL OF PROPERTY 

To be handed over (except the documents exhibited) to the 
Sunth State for disposal. 

( (Sd) H. GOUGH, Major. 

Dated 11th Feb. 1914 ( 

( (Sd) F.W. ALLISON. 

The above judgement was to be executed only after the 
confirmation of the High Court. The High Court was constituted 
at Ahmedabad with the commissioner. Northern Division (Bombay 
Government) as the judge. The judgement and appeals from the 
convicts reached the above High Cour^. The twenty three appel- 
lants were represented by Mr. Antaldas, pleader The twenty- 
fourth convict died in Jail. On opening the case for the appellants, 
Mr. Antaldas raised the formal objection that the present 
Commissioner of the Northern Division is debarred from sitting as 
a high court under section 556 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 
His objection was valid on the ground that the Commissioner, 
Northern Division, was himself a party as he was present during the 
military operation on Mangarh. The operation was conducted 
during his presence and under his instructions and supervision. 
The objection was over-ruled and proceedings were continued. 

The Commissioner, Northern Division, sitting in High 
Court parsed the following order “Under the provisions of section 
423 of the Criminal Procedure Code I confirm the convictions of 
Govindgir Bechargar under section 121 of the Penal Code of law 
in force in Sunth and Banswara but alter the sentence to one of 
transportation for life. I confirm the convictions of Punja Dhirji 



Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


under sec, cns 121 and 302 of ,he .aid code and decline to alter 

I^onfi d' by the special court. 

Ld 149 of t'h “/ *•= 21 appellants under sections 148 

of I t passed on each 

hem to SIX months rigorous imprisonment”.so 

The above order passed was under the influence of prejudices. 

in the passed this order was himself involved 

military operation on Mangarh against the Bhils. So there 
was no question of justice at his hand. The above officer was not 
ir in his decisions as he was bound with the interests of the British 
imperia ism. In the era of National upheaval such type of acti- 
vities were not tolerable by the blood-sucking imperialist. To put 

essential to protect 

e British Empire in India. The pleader for the convicts pleaded 
he case in a legal and logical manner based upon facts and lead- 
5 TT Commissioner passed the orders in an arbitrary 

th j c * considerations the points raised by 

the pleader for the convicts. Being an executive Officer his be- 

fh justice. He supported his orders 

hrough fabricated jargons based on false stories. The reasons for 
those orders were as follows :5l 


For the trial of Govindgir Bechargar and others, accused of 

having committed offences in connection with recent dis- 
tur ances upon the borders of the Rewakantha Agency and 
^^jp^tana States a Special Court consisting 
o r. F.W. Allison, I.G.S., and Major H.K.A. Gough was 
constituted under the Government of India’s Notification 
(Foreign and Political Department) No. 699 -D, dated the 
2nd February, 1914. The same notification directed that 
the Commissioner, Northern Division, Bombay Presidency 
should, in relation to the proceedings of the Special Court, 
exercise the powers of a High Court. 

On the llth February 1914 the Special Court found 
Govindgir Bechargar and Punja Dhirji guilty of having 
waged war against the States of Sunth and Banswara and 
sentenced them, under Section 121 of the Penal Code of 
Law in force in those States, Govindgir to be hanged by the 
neck till he is dead and Punja to transportation for life. 



ll-Movemetits 


59 


They further convicted Punja of murder and sentenced him, 
under section 302 of the same Code, to transportation for 
life for that offence. The remaining twenty-two accused, 
viz. Kalu Ramji, Kalji, Lalji, Dharji Koyla, Surjijeta, 
Halia Dhani, Gajahang alias Rajhangjita, Kodar Vahaljidar 
Khoma Nagjida, Ramla Narjida, Barbaria Natha, Vahala 
Bhundia, Kalia Dhana, Meha Hamjia, Partapia Babra, 
Bhura Johuda (since deceased), Gajhang Duia, Ghamna 
Falia, Bijia Fuljida, Kanji Nagjida, Hirji Bhudbia, Kura 
Vagji and Ranga Mawaji, have been convicted of rioting, 
armed with deadly weapons, and being members of an un- 
lawful assembly members of which committed an offence 
and sentenced under sections H8 and 149 of the Code to 
undergo rigorous imprisonment each for three years. 

3. In opening the case for the appellants, Mr. Antaldas took 
the formal objection that the present Commissioner of the 
Northern Division is debarred, under section 556 of the 
Code of Criminal Procedure, from taking any part in the 
proceedings against the Bhils who were captured on Man- 
garh Hill on the morning of the 17th November, 1913. I 
record the fact of the objection having been taken but will 
not discuss the point further than to observe that I can find 
nothing in that section which would make my sitting as a 
High Court either illegal or improper. 

4. The learned pleader for the appellants, w'ho has dealt very 
ably and very fairly with every point in the evidence which 
might conceivably be of use to them, has argued that the 
Bhils, with Govindgir, went up on to Mangarh for purely 
religious purposes and in order to hold a Fair— that there 
is no evidence to show that any political design underlay 
the movement that so far from making arrogant demands 
they were extremely humble and couched their petition to 
the Political Agent in obsequious terms — that their refusal 
so disperse when called upon to do so was due to their fear 
of the soldiers-that their resusal to disperse can not be con- 
strued into an act of war — and that if indeed they resisted 
the troops at all they can be held guilty of nothing more 
than of being membcr« of an unlawful assembly and of 



Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


rioting. He has called my attention to two recorded cases, 
one in 37 Calcutta, page 518, in which GarnduffJ. re- 
marlted that : — “The expression ‘wages war’ which is used 
in section 121 of the Penal Code must be construed in its 
ordinary sense as a phrase in common use in the English 
language and it is impossible to hold that any of the overt 
acts alleged in this case amount to an offence provided for 
by that section”. The second reference was to 34 Bombay 
page 409, in the case of Imperator vs. G.D. Savarkar; the 
learned pleader specially called my attention to the follow- 
ing excerpt from the judgement of Heaton J. : — “So long 
as a man only tries to influence feeling, to excite a state of 
mind he is not guilty of anything more than sedition. 
It is only when he definitely and clearly incites to 
action that he is guilty of instigating and therefore abetting 
the waging of war”. A further point which he ha$ made 
is that in the case of the Talavia rising in Broach in the 
year 1885 when Mr. Prescott the Superintendent of Police 
being mistaken for the Collector of the District was killed 
by a mob which marched through Broach armed and with 
intent to give battle to the' authorities — a case in which 
many of the attendant circumstances were almost identi- 
cally the same as in the present case not one of the Talavias 
who were convicted and punished was convicted of the 
offence of waging war. 

5. The three cases quoted may easily be differentiated from the 
present one. In the Calcutta and the Bombay case there 
was no act which could reasonably be construed into an act 
of war, using that expression in its ordinary sense. The 
Broach disturbance was a riot in which a few hundred peo- 
ple were concerned who made no preparations for war but 
were driven by their leader into excess which resulted in 
the shedding of blood and the destruction of propcity; 
Govindgir’s case was much more than that. 

What is the meaning of the phrase “to wage war”? The 
point has been discussed at some length by Maync in his 
criminal Law from which I may quote the following; — 
“To make out the offence, it was necessary to shew that the 
distinct object aimed at was, cither directly to overthrow the 



il-Movements 


61 


authority and power of the Sovereign, or to do so indireetly 
by coercing the Sovereign and his advisers into adopting 
some different policy, or passing or releasing some law in a 
matter of general concern.” Next may be quoted Mayne’s 
extract from Tindal G. J.’s summing up in the Chartist case, 
as follows : — “To constitute a high treason by levying war, 
there must be insurrection; there must be force accompany- 
ing that insurrection, and it must be for the accomplish- 
ment of an object of a general nature. But if all these 
circumstances are found to concur in any individual case, 
that is quite sufficient to constitute a levying of war.” 

6. The two cases which have been quoted from Calcutta and 
Bombay are altogether adverse to the Appellants Govindgir 
and Punja. If we give to the expression “to wage war” its 
ordinary meaning as an expression commonly used in the 
English language we cannot avoid the conviction that the 
two accused waged war. We cannot close our eyes to the 
fact that the leaders in this outbreak, that is to say the 
appellants Govindgir and Punja did not stop short at trying 
to influence feeling; the whole evidence goes to shew that 
they definitely and clearly incited to action. And we find 
in the case all the constituents of the offence mentioned by 
Tindal C.J., namely in insurrection, the use of force accom- 
panying the insurrection, and the accomplishment of an 
object of a genei’al nature in the shape of a desire to coerce 
the States of Sunth and Banswara, or to cause them to be 
coerced, into changing their methods of Government in a 
manner in which they did not desire to change them.Of the 
latter Exhibit 3/6 is a sufficiently clear indication. 

7. With regard to the original purpose underlying Govindgir’s 
action in making himself the Guru of the Bhils and obtain- 
ing over them an almost absolute ascendancy, we can 
only make surmises. It is possible to argue that from the 
very beginning he had in view an organization of the Bhils 
which would give him a political status, and perhaps even 
rulership. I am however content to believe that in the 
beginning his object was merely the laudable one of raising 
the moral tone of, and ameliorating the general conditions 



Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


of life of, the class among whom he elected to work. His 
teaching appears to have been pure, and ennobling in its 
effects and there is reason to believe that the Bhils who 
came in contact with him and became his disciples were 
raised to a higher plane of morality and decency than they 
had ever reached before he took them in hand. I conceive 
that at first Govindgir’s thoughts did not run to insurrec- 
tion or the upsetting of established Government; he was 
chiefly concerned with the moral improvement of those 
whom he had chosen for his people. But as the days went 
by and he felt his power increasing his ambitions expanded 
and he set out to enforce a recognition of the claims of the 
Bhils to admission into a higher social grade; an exaggera- 
ted view of his own power caused him to deceive himself 
and led him into the erroi of pitting himself against the 
States He came to believe himself destined not merely 
to improve the morals of the Bhils but also to restore to 
them the temporal power which is believed to have been 
theirs somc'800 years ago. Probably his arrest in Dungarpur 
which, as the Judges of the Special Court have remarked 
“seemed likely to cause an unexpected commotion” 
was the direct cause of his moving out with his followers 
to Mangarb, a hill situated partly in the Sunth State and 
partly in Banswara, and according to the tradition, once a 
stronghold of a Bhil Raj. 

The evidence recorded sets it beyond doubt that the 
assemblage on Mangarh hill of so many thousands of 
Bhils was in compliance with the stringent orders which 
he issued; there is ample evidence on the record that he 
issued orders in very threatening terms to particular 
individuals to come to him on the Hill, promisijig them 
the direct punishment if they disobeyed his orders. 

The concentration on the Hill of his armed followers armed 
in a altogether extraordinary way-was followed almost at 
once by a wanton act on a Fort belonging to the Raja of 
Sunth by Bhils from the Hill, by the abduction of two men 
of the Sunth Police, and the brutal murder of one of them, 
and by the looting of the house of the Bamri Patel who had 



Bhil-Movements 


63 


given information to the Sunih authorities of the murder 
and the slaughter of his cattle. It was followed by an 
absolute disregard of both the requests and the orders of 
the Political Officers, and finally by premediatated resist- 
ance to the advance of the troops. The Bhils attacked and 
fired upon the troops as they came upon to the Hill to 
disperse them. 

9. Every fact on record goes to disprove the theory that the 
massing of the Bhils on Mangadh was nothing more than 
an assemblage for the exercise of religion. Had the exercise 
of religious practices been the sole reason for the gathering 

'there would have been no attack on the Fort, the Bhils 
would have carried nothing more than a few bows and 
arrows and possibly a spear or two (they were almost all 
of them armed as for war), the Hill would not have been 
clearly and effectually fortified nor the approaches blocked, 
the worshippers would have sat quietly while the officers 
of Government came up the Hill to speak to them and 
there would have been no active resistance to the advance* 
of the troops; there would have been no armed guards to 
prevent the officers of the British Government from setting 
foot on the Hill or entering' into verbal communication 
with the leader or guru; there would have been no capture 
and ill-treatment of the Sunth Head Constable and no 
forcible detention of the envoys sent by the Political Agent, 
Southern Rajputana States. 

10. Nor is there any room for supposing that the Bhils resorted 
to Mangarh Hill as a refuge from the oppression of the 
subordinate State Officials, and with a view to attracting 
the attention of the British Government to their grievances. 
For in the first place they would naturally have moved into 
some spot in British territory where, as they were undoub- 
tedly aware, they would have been at liberty to practise 
any religion they pleased and to reform themselves to 
their heart’s content. And in the second place they would 
have sought every opportunity of meeting the British 
Officers and laying their grievances before them instead of 
refusing to come down from the Hill to meet them. 



4 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


refusing to allow the OlRcers to come on to the Hill and 
threatening them with violence if they attempted to 
approach the guru or set foot on the Hill. The one reply 
received from the leaders to the representations of the 
Political Agent’s was Exhibit 3/6, a rigmarole making 
vague allegations against the Rulers of the States and their 
subordinates, and formulating, not temperately worded 
requests, but insolent demands such as might conceiveably 
have been expected from one of two adversaries who, by 
virtue of superior strength, were in a position to dictate 
terms of peace to the other. In formulating those condi- 
tions, Govindgir aimed at coercing the States of Sunth and 
Banswara into altering entirely their system of Govern- 
ment. 

1 1 . There is, I hold, no other explanation of the gathering on 
Mangarh Hill than that the Bhils, under the leadership 
of Govindgir and his lieutenant Punja were out to 
compel the Rajput States to accept the terms of the Bhil 
Raj and were not only prepared to commit overt acts of 
force and violence to achieve that end but did actually 
commit them. The learned judges of the Special Court 
could not have come to any other conclusion than that 
at which they arrived namely that Govindgir and Punja 
did wage war against the Stales of Sunth and Banswara. 

12. The law provides for one of two punishments only for the 
offence of waging war — death or transportation for life 
together with the forfeiture of property. In this case I do 
not consider that the circumstances require the infliction 
of the extreme penalty of death. The learned Judges of 
the Special Court have, very rightly as I believe, made a 
very strong recommendation for mercy in the case of 
Govindgir. Acting on that recommendation and believ- 
ing that the requirements of justice will be fully met by 
the infliction of the lesser punishment I alter the sentence 
in the only manner in which the Law permits me to alter 
it, namely to one of transportation for life. On Govindgir 
lies the responsibility for all the lives lost on Mangarh Hill. 
For his actions Punja is almost equally responsible, and I 



Bliil-Movements 


65 


am not prepared to mitigate the severity of the sentence 
passed upon him under Section 121 of the Penal Code. 

IS. On the second count Punja alone has been convicted of 
the murder of the Sunth Police Sepoy Gul Mohammed, and 
the question for me to decide is whether there is any 
reasonable doubt of the truth of the story told by the Head 
Constable Yusuf Khan. It is absolutely certain that this 
man was kept in bonds on the hill for some 14 to 15 days, 
that Govindgir if he did not directly order this man’s 
abduction at least approved of it and confirmed it, and 
that Yusif Khan was not released until the evening of the 
15lh after the most preemptory orders for his release had 
been given by the Political Agent. Immediately after 
his release he was examined and his statement «vas recorded 
by the Political Agent. Rewakantha; the written statement 
does not form part of the judicial record but it is still in 
existence The marks on Yusif Khan’s body bore testimony 
to the truth of what he stated with regard to his own 
ill-treatment Under all the circumstances there could not 
possibly have been produced any direct evidence of the 
murder other than that of Yusif and his evidence may not 
be discarded merely by leason of its being unsupported by 
another witness; of circumstantial evidence there is little 
since the body of the deceased constable was never found. 
His belt was howevei found on the Hill after the troops 
had cleared it. I must hold that there is no reason whatever 
for doubting the truth of the evidence given by Yusif Khan, 
the one who escaped death, and that there are ample 
grounds for finding that Punja was present at, and took a 
part in, the murder of Gul Mohammed. The learned Judges 
of the Special Court have humanely passed upon him the 
lesser sentence of transportation for life, and I am not 
prepared to show him further leniency. 

14. On behalf of the remaining appellants Mr Antaldas has 
urged that a man may not be convicted of rioting when 
armed unless it can be clearly proved that he had arms in 
his hand. It has only to be considered however that on 
Mangarh Hill, a body of some 800 or 900 man threw down 



56 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


their arms and came forward in submission only when 
they were covered by the rifles of the troops. At that time 
only the troops were on the Hill; the civil officers came 
up afterwards, and it would have been absurd to expect 
the troops under such conditions to fit each weapon to its 
owner, and prepare lists accordingly. The common sense 
view is that which was taken by the Judges of the Special 
Gourt-the assemblage as a whole was armed with guns, 
swords, bows and arrows, etc, and it is not material 
whether particular individuals held no arms in their 
hands. 

15. I must maintain the convictions of these men. But I reduce 
the sentence passed on each to one of six months rigorous 
imprisonment. They were probably not more worthy 
of punishment than the hundreds who, on the morning 
of the 17th November, were dismissed to their homes after 
admonition and amongst whom were possibly many Patels 
or Headmen. 

The applicants were arrested because they were known to 
be Headmen who might fairly be held responsible for 
taking part in the disturbances, but it must be borne in 
mind that they were led away, and in some instances at 
least coerced by Govindgir and his Ghelas. I am of opinion 
that six months rigorous imprisonment will fully meet the 
necessities of the case.” 

The Bhil movement was crushed by the British but the 
Bhils were agitating on the arrest of their Guru. The death 
sentence given to Guru Govindgir shocked the Bhils. The 
popularity of Govindgir was wide spread among the Bhils as he 
was the man who brought the Bhils from darkness to light. 
Govindgir emancipated them from all biases. Considering his 
popularity the Governor General altered the sentence passed on 
Govindgir. 

'*^The sentence of transportation for life passed on Govindgir 
was reduced to ten years rigorous imprisonment.52 in 
1930 he wac released on the condition that he would not be 
allowed to go in the territories of Sunth, Dungarpur, Banswara, 



Bhil- Movements 


67 


Kushalgarh and Idar State. He was allowed to live in Jhalod 
village in Panchmahal District of Ahmedabad division. 

The Bhil movement under the leadership of Govindgir 
failed in establishing the Bhil Raj. The above movement was 
suppressed ruthlessly by the Bri ish armies. But this movement 
had far-reaching impacts. This movement awakened the Bhils 
and made them aware of their rights. The Bhils came out from 
the age-old social, economic and political bondages. Immediately 
after the suppressions of th’s Bhil rising the British authorities made 
a thorough enquiry into the conditions of the Bhils in Rajasthan, 
Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.53 The British authorities recognised 
the forest rights of the Bhils and to some extent the traditional 
forest rights. were restored. The Bhils also got reduced the burden 
of land revenue, /flg ing'-r (cesses), (forced labour) etc. The 

administrative and police officers were advised to behave properly 
with the Bhils. The police and judicial powers of Jagirdars were 
taken off. The harassment and ill-treatment by the authorities 
was mitigated. This movement became the symbol of the Bhil 
liberation. The importance of this movement can not be under- 
mined. This movement became the source of inspiration and 
courage to the down-trodden classes to fight against oppression 
and exploitation. The movement also generated consciousness 
not only among the Bhils but also among the all sections of 
society of Southern Rajasthan and it encouraged peasant move- 
ments and freedom struggle in Rajasthan. 


REFERENCES 

1. Charls Aitchison. Treat iesy Engagements and Sanads, Vol. 

IIIp. 2. 

2. Ibid., Vol li, p. 6. 

3. /hid., Vol. II, p. 9. 

4. Ibid., Vol. II, p. 9. 



68 


peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


5. Shyamal Das, Vir Vinod, p. 2192. 

6. Ibid. 

/y 7. National Archieves of India. Foreign Deptt. Pol A 
Proceedings. April, 1881, Nos. 25-39. 

8. Ibid., Proceedings August, 1881, Flos. 

9. Shyamal Das, op. cit , p. 2220. 

10. Ibid., p. 2222. 

11. In 1920 a powerful BhiJ movement built up under the 
leadershio of Motilal Tejawat. 

12. National Archixes of India, Foreigners Political Deptt. 
Internal. Proceedings. April 1916. Nos. 38-47. 

13. Ibid. 

14. Idid., Proceedings. August. 1914 Nos. 18-22. 

15. Ibid., Proceedings, March 1914, Nos. 8-67. 

16. Shodh Patrika, Bhag 9. Ank-2, St. 2014, {1957) p. 67. 

17. National Archives of India. Foreign & Political deptt. 
Proceedings, April 1916, Nos. 38-47, para 2. 

18. Ibid., Proceeding.^ March 1914 Nos. 8-67, p 29. 

19. Ibid. 

20. Ibid., P 14 and mternal-A, Proceedings. April 1916 Nos. 
38-47, p. 11. 

21. Ibid., and Shodh Patrika, op. ct. p. 62. 

22. National Acrhives of India, Foreign and Political Department 
Internal-A, Proceedings, April 1916, Nos. 38-47. 

23. Ibid. 

24. Ibid., letter No. 3342. dated Abu. 17th Sept., 1914. 

25. Ibid., Internal A Proceedings, March 1914, No. 8.67. 

26. Ibid., pp. 33-34. 

27. Ibid., letter No. 35-CB dated 29th Nov.. 1913. 

28. National Archives of India. Foreign and Political Department'. 
• Internal A. Proceedings, April 1916 Nos. 38 47, letter No. 

3342, dated Abu, the 17ih September. 1914. 



69 


Bhil-Movements 

29. Ibid.. 

30. National Archives of India. Internal- A, Proceedings March 
1914, Nos. 8-67, Letter No. 35-CB. dated the 29th November, 
1913. 

31. Ibid., Inti. A. Frogs. April 1916, Nos. 38-47, pp. 23-24. 

32. Shodh Patrika, op. cit-, p. 1. 

33. National Archives of India, Foreign and Political Deptt. 
Internal, A. Proceedings, August 1914, Nos. 18-22, 
pp. 3-4. 

34. Ibid., Proceedings, March 1914, Nos. 8-67, p. 29. 

35. Ibid., Proceedings, August, 1914, Nos. 18-22, p. 4. 

36. National Archives of India, Home Deptt. Police B. Proceed- 
ings, December 1913, Nos. 108-11. 

37. Ibid., Foreign and Political Deptt. Internal A, Proceedings, 
March 1914, Nos. 8-67. 

38. Ibid., Internal A, Proceedings, August 1914, Nos. 18-22. 

39. Ibid., Internal A, Proceedings, March, 1914, Nos 8-67. 

40. Ibid. 

41. Ibid., Proceedings, April 1916, Nos. 38-47, pp. 11-15. 

42. These officers were the Commissioner, Northern Div. 
(Bombay Presidency). Political Agent Southern Rajputana 
States, Political Agent Rewarkantha Agency, and Military 
Officers. 

43. National Archives of India, Foreign and Political Deptt. 
Proceedings, March, 1914 Nos. 8-67, p. 41. 

44. Ibid. 

45. Ibid. 

46. Ibid., Recent researches revealed that the number of the 
Bhils who died in this was nearly three thousands which 
was a Jalianwala bagh. Massacre no less severe than that of 
Jalianwala Bagh. 

47. Ibid. 



70 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


48. 


49. 

50. 

51. 

52. 

53. 


Copy of the judgement attached with the Proceedings^ 
August, 1914, National Archives of India, Foreign and Political 
deptt. Internal- A. 

Ibid. 

Ibid. 

National Archives of India, Foreign and Political Deptt. 
Proceedings August, 1914, Nos. 18*22. 

Ibid. 

Ibid., Proceedings, April 1916 Nos. 38-47. 



4 


PEASANT MOVEMENTS IN THE 
UDAIPUR STATE 


The position of peasants was worst m the state of Udaipur. 
87% of land was in the hands of Jagirdars which was known as 
the non — KItalsa area, while only 13% land was under the Khalsa 
system The conditions of peasants weremoie deplorable in the 
Jagir areas where feudalism was prevalent in a crude form. The 
peasants weie treated as slaves When the feudal exploitation 
and oppression reached such an extent that it made difficult the 
very existence of peasants, the peasants arose against the feudal 
lords. The first peasant movement of Rajasthan was launched 
in Bijolia feudatoi y of the State of Udaipur. ®TheBijolia peasant 
movement became the pioneer movement in Rajasthan which 
encouraged and ins pired not only the agrarian struggle but also 
other mass movements. This also paved the way for social, 
political and economic c hanges in Rajasthan which brought the 
society out of the clutches of feudal bondage? 

Bijolia was ‘‘A” class Jag ir of the Udaipur State which is 
now in the Bhilwara district of Rajasthan. The Jagirdar of 
Bijolia wis among the sixteen c hiefs of Udaipur State who formed 
the council of Maharana. The area of this Jagir was about 
loo sq. miles which was concentrated within a group of 25 villages. 
The population of Bijolia town was 4000 and the total population 
ofthis Jagir was 12,000 in 1921.^ In 1931 the total population of 
Bijolia feudatory was 15,000 out of which 10,000 were peasants. 
The p jpulation of Dhakara (a peasant caste who were the main 
ag,itators) was 6000 which formed 60% of the peasants.^ 



72 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


The peasant movement of Bijolia may be divided into three 
main phases. The first phase between 1897-1915 was marked by 
a spontaneous movement which was advanced by loeal leadership. 
The second phase between 1915-1923 marked anew state of 
conciousness among the peasants and it was led by trained and 
matured leaders of national status. Not only this but this move- 
ment also linked up with the main stream of the nation. The 
third phase continued upto 1941. The issues of the movement 
remained same during the whole period but some new issues were 
added to this with the expansion of the movement. The main 
issues were as follows. 

The method of assessment and collection of land revenue 
was the main issue of this movement^ The most prevalent method 
was Lata and Kimta. Under this system the standing crops 
w'ere assessed by the Katndar and other revenue officials of the 
feudatory. The estimates of the total produce were roughly 
calculated on which the share of feudatory was fixed. This was 
a primitive system which was plundering the peasants. In this 
the peasants were deprived of their hard earned produce. As 
Bijay Singh Paihik bitterly remarked, lata kiinia became loot pat 
of peasants byjagirdar.3 Apart from this system, there was a 
persistent fear of ejectment of peasants as the insecurity of land 
tenure prevailed. The peasants could be ejected on the ground 
of non-payment of land revenue. The rate of land revenue was 
half of the gross produce and remissions were not allowed even in 
the famine or abnormal ycars.^ Mostly peasants were forced to 
borrow the money from money-lenders on an exorbitant rate of 
interest. 

In addition to the land revenue a large number of Lag- 
bags (cesses) were charged from the peasants. Some of these 
were regular and some occasional The burden of Lag-bags 
was almost double of the amount of land revenue. This was a 
cruel and unjust form of exploitation. There were 86 Afferen t 
types of cesses on cultivat ors. 5 The collection of cesses was not a 
new system as it had been in vogue since the medieval period. 
Initially the cesses were charged from the peasants and other 
masses to meet out the incidental expenses of the administration. 
The amount and number of these was nominal. The condition of 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


73 


Bijolia was peculiar The area was a victim of Maratha invasions. 
When the Marathas attacked Mewar the thikana of Bijolia became 
the first victim. These attacks created panic among the peasants 
as their whole life was shattered The peasants used to fight the 
enemy by co-operating with Jagirdar and with the help of 
peasants the Jagirdar was able to reestablish his power and 
administration. In fact, during these days of crisis the masses 
and Jagirdar of Bijolia were living like a family. Incase the 
Jagirdar was in need of extra money for military, administration 
and domestic purposes, the Peasant Panchayats collected the 
money and presented it to the Jagirdar. In the event of bad 
season and destruction of crops remissions were given to the 
peasants. Not only this but the peasants also got remission of land 
revenue when there was marriage of peasant’s daughter or any 
death in his family 6 The insecure and critical political condi- 
tions of Bijolia brought the ruler and ruled very close to each 
other and both were the fundamental need of each other. In 
1818 Udaipur State concluded a treaty with the British when the 
Maharana got the assurance against external invasions. 

With this treaty the relations between ruler and ruled 
changed. The Jagirdar became loyal and responsible to the State 
and the British in place of his subjects. The money which the 
Jagirdar was getting from the peasants in addition to the land 
revenue became a regular part of his income in the name of 
lag-bag. The number and amount of these cesses expanded with 
the growing extiavagancy of Jagirdars and colonial economic 
burden. The intensity of the exploitation of the peasants can be 
gauzed fiom the fact that they were deprived of B7% of the ir^ 
produce a ccording to an estimate.'^ The peasants were of the 
view that the Lag bags made their life miserable The Lag bags 
compelled the peasant to revolt against the Jagirdar. 

The burden of land levenue and cesses made the peasants 
debtors. The moneylenders extended the loans on exorbitant 
rates 'of interest and imposed arbitrary conditions. The money- 
lenders weie an important part of the feudal and colonial 
economy. The money-lender also exploited the peasant masses 
through inhuman practices He was looting the peasants misch- 
ievously. In case of disputes between money-lenders and peasants 



74 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

the Jagirdar sided with money-lenders. The indebtedness of the 
peasants was an important issue and cause of the peasant move- 
ment of Bijolia/ 

The welfare activities such as education and medical ,4vere 
quite absent in the Bijolia feudatory. The peasants were 
living in the darkness of the medieval age. The peasant movement 
also aimed at securing educational and medical facilities. 

"The arbitrary powers of the Jagirdar of Bijolia were another 
issue of the peasant movement.*^ The Jagirdar was empowered with 
judiciary rights in the civil and criminal matters. He was empo- 
wered to sentence upto five years prison term and fine up to Rs. 500/- 
in both the cases. 8 Though the Jagirdar recognised the Maharana 
Alewar and the British power as his overlords, yet he was the 
arbitrary ruler of his Jagir. There was no written law and he 
acted on his will and whim. The peasants challenged the 
aibitrary position of the Jagirdars. 

"The question of began was also an important cause of the 
peasant movement? The peasants were compelled to render began 
by the Jagirdar and his officials on various occasions. The 
peasants were forced to supply the bullock cart to carry the grain 
of land revenue to the Jagirdar’s place without payment and food 
and fodder. Any type of weight or luggage of the Jagirdar, State 
officers and Jagir officials had to be carried by the peasant on 
bullock cart, cattle or on his own head. The peasants were also 
captured to serve the authorities wherever they wanted. The 
peasants brought on began were prevented to work on their own 
fields and their work lyefs suffered. 

The peasants were suffering severely under the above 
mentioned feudal exploitation and oppression. The prevalent 
exploitative system challenged the very existence of the peasants. 
The peasants w’ere compelled to fight against the feudal system. 

First Phase 1897-1915 

In 1897 thousands of Dhakar peasants from various 
villages of Bijolia gathered at a village Girdbarpurn in a death 
feast (Nukta) of Gangaram Dhakar’s father.® The exploited and 
oppressed peasants discussed their miseries with each other reached 



JPeasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


75 


the consensus that the root cause of their sufferings was the heavy 
burden of lan d revenue cesses and forced labour. The peasants 
also agreed to take some steps to get relief and decided to send a 
deputation to the Maharana at Udaipur to represent their grieva- 
nces. The above gathering also decided the names of Nanji Patel 
ofBerisal and Thakari Patel of Gopal niwas for deputation. 
The deputation of two representatives reached Udaipur and 
after continuous efforts of eight months they succeeded in pre- 
senting their grievances before the Maharana. The Maharana 
deputed a revenue officer to hold enquiry in the revenue matters 
ofBijolia.io 

The enquiry conducted by the revenue officer found the 
complaints of the peasants valid and true. The Jagirdar did not 
allow the peasants to meet this enquiry officer, even then the 
enquiry report went against the Jagirdar. The same report was 
presented before the Mahakma Khas. The Mahakma Khas with- 
out any action issued a warning to the Jagirdar and much 
attention was not paid. 

The Jagirdar took a different view of the matter. Instead 
of introducing agrarian reforms he started harassing and terrorising 
the peasants. He felt that the peasants’ complaint to the state 
was a challenge to his authority. Both the members of above 
deputation viz. Nanji Patel and Thakri Patel were exiled from 
the territory of Bijolia Jagir. The peasants of Bijolia felt 
discouraged by the above action of Jagirdar but they did not 
lose heart altogether. In fact the Jagirdar’s action made them 
realise more acutely than ever before that their miseries were 
caused by the feudal exploitation. 

The peasants were not happy with the behaviour of the 
Jagirdar. The year 1899-1900 was the year of famine and distress 
which worsened the condition of the peasants. An incident of 
1903 compelled the peasants to defy the authority of the Jagirdar 
openly. In 1903 the Jagirdar imposed a new cess known as 
Chanwari lag. According to this cess every subject of Bijolia had 
to pay rupees thirteen to the Jagirdar on the occasion of his daugh- 
ter’s marriage. The new cess not only burdened the peasantry 
economically but it was also derogatory socially. In protest the 
peasants presented before the Jagirdar about two hundred of girls of 


76 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

rtfdrriagable age and asked him to withdraw the Chanwari cess as 
they were not able to marry olf their own daughters due to econo- 
mic burden. The Jagirdar misbehaved with the peasants and 
answered in an inhuman way, “sell these girls in the market and 
deposit the chanwari.”ii The peasants became uneasy with this 
misbehaviour. The peasants threatened the Jagirdar that “they 
will not live in a place like this where the ruler live you ruled, 
who wanted to get sell our daughters.”l2 In the night of same 
day the peasants of various villages in large number migrated to 
Gwalior State 

The peasants were of the view that their migration will 
adversly affected the Jagir with the loss of revenue, while they can 
get land in Gwalior State to cultivate on liberal terms. But this 
act of peasants was an open challenge to the Jagirdar’s authority 
as the subjects of a Jagir were the property of the Jagirdar. This 
has been also described by a British military officer as “one of the 
old feudal customs of Rajpootana was that no artisan or serf, as 
the lower class might well be called, could leave the territory of 
his own immediate chief or Thakoor, and go and settle in that of 
another, without permission. These men formed in fact part of 
the property inherited by the feudal lords from their ancestors, 
and were regularly attached to the soil. ”13 When the Jagirdar 
came to know that the peasants in large number had gone, he 
immediately rushed to them with his employees, felt sorry before 
the peasants and brought them back. He withdrew the Chanwari 
cess immediately in 1904 announced the following concessions.!^ 

1. The Kamdar of the Thikana would perform Kunta only with 
the consent of the Patel and five Kisans of the village. 

2. Formerly the Bhog-Lag was charged at the rate of four seers 
per maund, but this was to be charged at the rate of two 
and half jeerj a maund. For weighing the corn Kanta 
(balance) would be used in place of Takari. 

3. The revenue on Sub-ban (Jute-Cotton) would be charged at 
the rate of Rs, 2h per bigha, 

4. The Hasil (revenue in cash) on opium would be charged at 
the rate of Rs 5/- per bigha as taken before. 

5. Formerly Banta (share) was charged at the rale of half of 
the produce, henceforth it would be charged at the rate of 
2/5th of the produce. 



Peasant Mo vements m the Udaipur State 


77 


6. The Khar Lakhar Lag on Kokuda land would be charged at 
the rate of six annas per bigha and on the Mai land at the 
rate of three annas per bigha. 

7. Formerly the Poola Lag was charged at the rate of 300 
Poolas per rupee but in future it would be charged at the 
rate of 1000 per rupee. 

8. The buffaloes of the peasant would be used in begar without 
payment only when a European or the Maharana of 
Udaipur visited the Thikana. 

9. The peasant was allowed to cut the habool trees growing on 
his land for his personal use. In case he sells them, half of 
the price would be deposited in the Thikana. 

10. The new cess of Noot barar would be abolished. 

11. The Ghore-Ka-Ghas cess which was taken freely for the 
horses of the Thikana would not be charged. 

12. The kisan would be allowed to drive out the pigs and other 
animals from their farm for the safty of their crops. 

13. Mapa cess (custom duty) would be charged at the rate of 
one paisa per rupee. 

14. Istmuran-kura-lag charged at the rate of one anna per 
rupee would be abolished. 

15. The Singoti lag (cattle cess) charged at the time of selling 
cattle m the village would be abolished. 

The above concessions were announced by the Jagirdar to 
pacify the agitating peasants Though, these concessions were 
not very substantial, still they were important as the token of the 
victory of the peasants. The concession did not bring about much 
change in the conditions of the peasants. 

The above concessions were withdrawn in 1906 by the Rao 
(Chief). Rao Krishan Singh died in 1906 without any heir and 
his near relation Prithvi Singh became the Jagirdar. He not only 
withdrew the above concessions but also imposed some new taxes 
on the pretext of Talwar-bandhai lag (Succession cess) which he 
paid to the Maharana. The new regime caused much harass- 
ment to the peasants as the new Jagirdar started collecting illegal 
taxes from the peasants by force mcrcilcssly.^s One of the reasons 



78 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


behind the harassing behaviour of the Jagirdar was that he was an 
outsider who had come from Kama (Bharatpur) and he had no 
traditional relationship with the subjects of Bijolia feudatory.16 

The peasants of Bijolia were living in the state of destitu - 
tion an d they were in the clutches of feudal exploitation. In 
1913 the peasants were again compelled to start a movement 
against the Jagirdar. The 1913 protest was led by a Sadhu, 
Sitaram Das.i"*' 

This movement was also encouraged and influenced by the 
Bhil revolt of 191^-13 under the leadership of a Sadhu, GovindgK^.^**^' 
In March 1913 nearly 1000 peasants under the leadership oi SaOhu 
Sitaram Das ^sembled before the palace of Bijolia Jagirdar to 
present their grievances. The Jagirdar refused to see the peasants 
and he ignored them. The behaviour of the Jagirdar compelled 
the peasants to take further steps to fight the feudal oppression. 

The peasants decided not to cultivate the lands in Bijolia and the 
lands were left fallow in the year 1913-14. This decision resulted 
in heavy loss of revenue to the Jagirdar while the peasants culti- 
vated the lands in the adjoining states of Gwalior, Bundi and the 
Khalsa land of Udaipur State. In December, 1913 the Jagirdar, 
Prithvi Singh, died and his minor son Keshri Singh ascended the 
throne of Bijolia feudatory.18 As the Jagirdar was a minor, the Jagir 
was put under the direct control of Udaipur State. This change 
was in favour of the agitating peasants. The grievances ol the 
peasants were heard by the Mahakma Khas of Udaipur State and 
the Mahakma Khas immediately in January, 1914 appointed two 
officers to look into the matter and settle the same. 

After thorough enquiries, consultations and discussions, 
Udaipur State persuaded the Bijolia Jagir to grant some conces- 
sions to the peasants on 24th June, 19141^ which were as follows : 

1. One third portion of the produce would be taken as Mog" 
(revenue) instead of two fifth. 

2. Formerly, the Khunachi cess was charged at the rate of 6^ 
seers per maund, but in future it would be charged at the 
rate of 4| seers per maund. 

3. Formerly, the Banta on Mangoes and Mahva were charged 
one half of the produce, but now it would be one third. 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


79 


4. The peasant would be allowed to cut the babool trees for 
his own use without paying any cess subject to the condi- 
tions that he would not sell them to others. 

5. The Hasil (cash revenue) on cotton was charged at the rate 
of rupees three, annas four and paisas two per bigha along 
with a cess at the rate of 7^ seers cotton per bigha. Now, 
it would be charged at the rate of rupees four per bigha and 
the cess would be totally abolished. 

6. The cess keena ka Dlian taken by the Salma (some type of 
Police) would be abolished 

7. The persons accompanying the Kamdar (general adminis- 
trator) during Kunta would not be given any corn. 

8. The supply of the bundles of fuel and grass by the Kisans 
as begar to the Jagir during the rainy season would be 
abolished. 


The above concessions were only declared but were actually 
never put into effect. This was a strange state of affairs. The 
movement of 1913- 14 failed which created much dissatisfaction. 
Though, the peasants continued their protest but just after the 
declaration of the concessions they resumed the work of cultiva- 
tion on the lands of Bijolia. In 1915-16 the second phase of the 
Bijolia peasant movement started. 


The first phase of the movement instilled encouragement 
and a new consciousness among the peasants of Bijolia. Though, 
they could not win over this struggle but they prepared themselves 
to oppose the feudal exploitation. In this phase this was a spon- 
teneous revolt led by the ignorant and uneducated peasant leaders. 
This phase created the seed-bed for the growth of strong anti- 
feudal plants^^ 


Second Phase (1915-1922) 


In 1915 the Bijolia peasant movement took a radical turn. 
The movement of 1913-14 was led by Sadhu Sitarsim Das, who 
was basically a literary man. In 1915 he invited Vijay Singh 
Pathik to assume the leadership of the movement. Vijay Singh 
Paihik was an ex-revolutionary connected with Ras Bihari Bose’s 
revolutionary group. His real name was Bhoop Singh. He belonged 



80 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


lo a village, Guthawali, in Bulandshahar district of Uttar Pradesh. 
He was Gujar (cultivator cum cattle breeder caste) by caste and 
his grand father and father were among the freedom fighters of the 
first Indian War of Independence. His grand father died fighting 
with the British forces in 1857 and his father was arrested after 
supression of the revolt. This background of Vijay Singh Pathik 
made him revolutionary. He was sent to organise revolutionary 
set^hies in Rajasthan by his parly. His party comrades staged a 
speculator bomb attack on Governor General Hardinge while he 
was making his official entry into the new capital on 23rd 
December 1912. This incident brought set back to the revolu- 
tionary activities. Again in 1914 Rasbehari Bose and Sachin 
Sanyal planned a military revolt on 21 February 1915, but the 
plan failed because of treachery. Ras Behari Bose had to flee to 
Japan and Sachin Sanyal was transported for life. Vijay Singh 
Pathik was also arrested in Rajasthan with his comrades on the 
suspicion of his connection with the above revolutionary group 
and he was put in the prison at Tatgarh. He escaped from the 
prison and assumed the name of Vijay Singh Pathik and dressed 
himself as Rajasthani Rajpbt. 

After escaping from the prison Vijay Singh Pathik estab- 
lished Vidya Pracharni Sabha at a village, Ochheri, near Chittor 
to work among the peasantry of the area. He soon gained popu- 
larity all around the area. In 1915 he organised a function of 
Vidya Pracharni Sabha in which Sadhu Sitaram Das came as an 
invitee. He was impressed by the ideas of Pathik and he asked 
him to take over the leadership of the Byolia peasant movement. 
Pathik reached Bijolia in 1916 and assumed the leadership of the 

movement.20 

Vijay Singh Pathik was a matured politician and agitator. 
He gave a definite and organised shape to the peasant movement 
at Bijolia. He also established Vidya Pracharni Sabha at Bijolia and 
under this Sabha he started a library, a school, and a Akhara.^^ 
These were the institutions which became the centres of political 
activities. Manik Lai Verma who was a Jagir employee was 
highly impressed by the activities of Pathik and he resigned from 
the service to work among the peasants. 22 Manik Lai Verma 
opened schools at Barisal and Umaji-ka-Khera the on advice of 
Pathik under the guidance of Vidya Pracharni Sabha. 



peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


81 


The movement was launched by the caste Panchayat of 
Dhakar as in 1897, but it was a weak organisation. In 1916 Pathik 
organised a peasant organisation known as Bijolia Kisan Panchayat. 
He established a central committee of the Kisan Panchayat which 
was named as Kisan Panchayat Board and its branches were open- 
ed in each village 23 The central committee also established a 
panchayat fund with subscriptions from its members.24 Manna 
lal Patel was appointed Sarpanch (President) and a committee of 
thirteen members was constituted under him to conduct the 
movement .25 

The mam demands of the peasants weie related to the land 
revenue, cesses, began, etc. from the very beginning of this move- 
ment, but by this time some new issues were also added. The 
question of war fund tax was a burning is'ue. In 1916 the Bijolia 
thikana imposed war tax on the instance of Udaipur State.Thc yeai 
1916 was a famine year in Bijolia where most of the crops were 
destioyed due to scarcity of rains and crops diseases. The second 
new issue related to the money-lenders. The money-lenders were 
exploiting the peasants under the support and protection of Jagir- 
dars as in cases of dispute between peasants and money-lenders the 
Jagirdar always sided up with money-lcnders.26 In fact the money- 
lenders were part of feudal economy and were a link in the chain 
of exploitors. To fight the feudalism it was necessary to fight the 
money-lenders. During the movement the money-lenders support- 
ed and justified the Jagirdar. In the second phase the class division 
became clearcut and the masses were imbued with class concious- 
ness. Obviously, the protest against the money-lenders by the 
peasant was the outcome ol the new class conciousness. 

The peasant leaders under the guidance and decision of 
Kisan Panchayat Board launched their anti-feudal compaign by 
holding meetings with the peasants from village to village. The 
leaders also collected petitions from the peasants regarding their 
grievances. In 1917 many petitions with thousands of signatures 
of peasants were sent to the thikana and Udaipur State, to abolish 
the cesses, forced labour, war tax. unjustified land revenue and to 
end the peasants’ torture and oppression by the Jagirdar and his 
officials. The authorities ignored the above petitions and nothing 
was done in favour of the peasants Udaipur State was of the view 



82 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


that any type of concessions to the peasants would encourge the 
peasants all over the State to demand the same. The Panchayat 
Boaid decided to launch a no-rent compaign.27 In August 1918 
the no rent compaign was started with non co-operation move- 
mcnt.28 The peasants decided not to obey the orders of thikana, 
and boycott the thikana police and courts. They also decided to 
not go to the town for shopping, not to drink and to stop the 
marriage and death feasts 29 


The peasants were also enthused by the news of the October 
Revolution of 1917 in Russia. Leaders such as Pathik and Verma 
disseminated among the peasants the news about the establishment 
of the peasants’ and workers’ rule in Russia. This international 
event affected the course of the peasant movement of Bijolia.^O 
The movement took a very strong turn. The Maharana of Udaipui 
was adamant not to consider the demands. Moreover, the Maha- 
rana instructed the thikana authorities to crush the movement 
ruthlessly for which he assured all help and support to the thikana. 
All the main activitists of the movement including Manik Lai 
Verma and Sadhu Sita Ram Das were arrested. In all fifty one 
persons were arrested.si Vijay Singh Pathik went undergiound and 
he guided the movement in the absence of other leaders. In protest 
n\e hundred peasants demonstrated before the fort of Bijoliaand 
they were also made prisoners.32 of the peasants were reach- 

ing there for satyagrah and thousands of peasants sat on dharna. 
The above activities compelled the Udaipur Government to appoint 
an enquiry commission and to release the peasants who were taken 
pi isoners subsequent to the arrest of the fifty one activists. 

The enquiry comraisMon appointed by the Udaipur Govein- 
ment reached Bijolia in April 1919.33 The peasants put before the 
commission the demand of the release of their leaders and activists. 
The peasants insisted that they would not hold discussions with the 
commission until their comrades were released. There upon the 
commission ordered the release of the activists arrested during the 
agitation. The commission found the grievances genuine but on 
the insistence of the thikana no action was taken The peasants 
vcrc not disappointed with this but they got more encouragement 
to strengthen their agitation. To them the release of their comia- 
dcs was a success of their movement. So the movement continued 
.sustained by the strong will of the peasants. 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


83 


Meanwhile the thikana authorities weie desperately trying 
to crush the movement. All sorts of torturing methods were used, 
but nothing not succeed in suppiessnsg the movement as the pea- 
sants were under the influence of the new conciousness The 
majority of the peasants in Bijolia belonged to Dhakar caste and 
the movement in its early stage was launched by the Dhakar 
Panchayat. But after the establishment of Bijolia Kisan Panchayat 
the caste panchayat went m the backgiound. The Udaipur officials 
tried to make capital out of the caste look of the movement. They 
tried to break the kisan unity but by this time the movement had 
gained a wider social base. An official document had depicted 
that half of the total population was participating in the agitation. 
Thus the agiiatois numbered about 9000, the Dhakars numbering 
about 6000 and rest belonging to other castes. 34 

Vijay Singh Pathik established Rajasthan Sewa Sangh in 1919 
and situated his headquarters at Ajmer which was under direct 
British rule From Ajmer Pathik guided the movement. Pathik 
was in close contact with Ganesh Shankai Vidyarthi. Through 
Vidyarthi’s paper Pratap Pathik brought the Bijolia movement on 
the national scene. 

The movement was intensified and peasants decided not to 
cultivate the lands of Bijolia. The Rajasthan Sewa Sangh and the 
Rajputana Madhya Bharat Sabha also extended their support to 
the movement. The leaders of the peasants tried to get the support 
of the Indian National Congress, but could not succeed because 
the congress was not in favour of agitation in the princely states. 
In December 1919 the Congress Session was held at Amritsar in 
which Vijay Singh Pathik put the matter of Bijolia before the 
National leaders. Pathik tried to include the Bijolia affairs in the 
agenda. He also narrated the sufferings and miseries of the pea- 
sants and history of the movement before Lokmanya Tilak. Tilak 
agieed to place before the session a resolution in connection with 
the Bijolia affairs. He did place a resolution, which was seconded 
by Kelkar. But Madan Mohan Malviya and Gandhiji opposed the 
proposal.Though the matter was not officially taken up by the Con- 
gress, but it did attract the attention of the national leaders.35 The 
leaders of Bijolia built up pressure which compelled the Udaipur 
Maharana to appoint a second enquirj^ commission The com- 
mission was appointed in February 1920.3G The new commission 



84 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


was welcomed by the peasants but Kisan Panchayat Boaid decided 
to continue the agitation until the decision of the commission was 

received.37 

Thakur Raj Singh of Bcdla was appointed the Chairman of 
the Commission and Rama Kant Malviya and Takhat Singh Mehta 
were the members. The members of the Commission called the 
representatives of the Kisan Panchayat at Udaipur to represent 
the matter before the Commission. Under the leadership of 
Manik Lai Verma a peasant deputation of 15 members reached 
Udaipur. This deputation represented their grievances before the 
Commission supported with proofs. The memorandum submitted 
by the deputation was divided into two parts, viz. (i) causes of the 
agitation and (ii) the demands of peasants which were as follows:^^ 

Caases of the Agitation 

1. The land revenue has been doubled in comparison to the 
previous rate. 

2. The cesses have been raised 75 times. The cesses are un- 
accounted and the thikana has no document of agreement 
about these. Our growing poverty due to unbearable cesses 
compelled us to agitate. 

3. We can not tolerate the begar in any condition. On the pre- 
text of begar the thikana oflScials used to take every thing of 
our necessity. 

4. The thikana always tried to raise his income through illegal 
means which is not acceptable to us. 

5. The thikana is not protecting lives and property of masses. 
Every day we are victims of thefts which arc not traced. 

6. The thikana courts arc full of favourtism. Pleaders from 
outside are not allowed. We are not getting justice and 
these are very expensive also 

7. We have been not provided with educational and medical 
facilities. 

Demands of the Peasants 

1. Lata Kunta may be abolished and the land revenue should 
be fixed after settlement according to Khalsa. 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


85 


k. Begar should be abolished and anyone should not be com- 
pelled to work even on payment. 

3. All the cesses should be stopped. 

4. Some reserved forests may be deforestised. 

5. Sufficient pasture land rriay be left. 

6. The Kisan should get the right on purchased land. 

7. The land revenue on the Katchi lands (lands without settle- 
ment) may be collected only when they are cropped. 

8. In process of Kunta half persons may be kisans and half 
from towns belonging to all castes. 

9. Mapa. Singoti etc. may be charged in the previous manner. 

10. Arrangement of education and medical may be made. Four 
schools and one hospital should be opened immediately. 

11. 77//A:n/j£2 should be responsible for lives and property. He 
should pay the compensation for untraced thefts. The 
police should maintain the investigation diary according to 
the police manual. The Police men should keep watch in 
the villages under Numberdar (Village Head Man). 

12. Arrangements of Justice and freedom should be made. The 
arbitrary powers of the thikana should be checked under 
laws and there should be published and clear laws. Auto- 
cracy of the thikana should be abolished. 

13. Thikana is not obeying the orders of the Maharana. The 
thikana State relations should be defined and thikana should 
be compelled to obey the orders of the State. 

14. facilities should be raised. Food arrangements for 
prisoners should be made and Jail should be kept clean. 

15. Looking to our agricultural income efforts should be made 
to reform our economic condition. 

The enquiry commission after through investigations 
reached the conclusion that the cause of agitation was genuine. 
The commission also strongly recommended that the grievances 
of the peasants should be redressed. The State Government was 
not inclined towards the peasants. Consequently the government 
was not satisfied with the recommendations of the Commission. 



86 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


Madan Mohan Malviya tried to persuade the Maharana on the 
advice of Mahatma Gandhism. However, all the efforts of Madan 
Mohan Malviya failed as the State was not in favour of any agree- 
ment with the peasants. The appointment of the Commission was 
aimed at breaking the movement. The reason for the uncompro- 
mising attitude of the State was the insistence of Government of 
India to crush the movement as it was going on the lines of the 
Bolsheviks. The Government of India considered the Bijolia 
Kisan Panchayat as a copy of Bolshevik communes.^O On the other 
hand, the feudals of the State were also mounting up the pressures 
not to concede the demands of the peasants. The feudals of 
Udaipur feared that if the cesses, foiced labour. Lata, Kiinta, were 
abolished in Bijolia then their peasants too would demand the 
abolition of these. Thus, no compromise was made and the move- 
ment was continued. 

The peasant movement of Bijolia was intensified by the 
leaders after June 1920 as by this time the chances of agreement 
had disappeared. The Kisan Panchayat began to run a parallel 
government through its leaders and volunteers. The Kisan 
Panchayat decided that no cultivator would have any direct deal- 
ings with the thikana authorities and they were advised to deal 
through the Panchayat only. The peasants refused to obey the 
orders of the thikana. They also refused to pay the land revenue, 
cesses and begar and decided to boycott the court and police of the 
thikana. The Kisan Panchayat paralysed the thikana administra- 
tion. Vijay Singh Pathik was mounting up the pressures from the 
outside through press and contacts with national leaders. 

In December, 1920 the historical Congress session was held 
at Nagpur in which the Congress approved and ratified the (policy 
of) non-cooperation movement. Vijay Singh Pathik attended the 
session with his followers from Bijolia. With the help of his follo- 
wers he organised an exibition depicting the plights of the peasants 
and the tyranny of the princely States and feudals in Rajasthan. 
Through this exibition he attracted the attention of patriots assem- 
bled from all parts of India. Not only this but he also convened 
a separate meeting of the residents of princely States of other parts. 
They showed their sympathy with the Bijolian peasants and conde- 
mned the tyrannies of the Jagirdar.^l He also tried to include the 
issue of Bijolia in the programme of the Congress movement. 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


87 


Though Gandhiji was very much impressed with the Bijolia peasant 
movement and Vijay Singh Pathik but at this time he was soft 
towards the princely states and feudal lords. 

The Indian National Congress which was the main Platform 
of freedom struggle, was controlled by those who did not look upon 
the anti-feudal struggle in native states as an essential part of the 
anti-imperialist struggle. Scientifically, feudalism was the pillar of 
imperialism but the Congress leaders could not understand this. 
Hence, the Congress had decided at its Nagpur session not to 
intervene in the affairs of the native States.^2 Gandhi defended 
this approach on the basis of his utopican logic which was far from 
logic. He said, “it is, I believe, an acceptable principle that 
Congress should not conduct or advise a satyagraha campaign in 
Indian States. This is only correct. The aim of Congress is swaraj 
for British India. If, therefore, it associates itself with satyagraha 
in other area, it would be transcending its self-imposed limits. 
When the Congress has won its goal, the problem of states will 
have been automatically solved. On the other hand, if people win 
swaraj in any Indian State, this will have little effect on British 
India”. As a matter of fact, Gandhi believed the princes to be 
simple-hearted men. He was not ignorant of the tyranny of some ol 
the rulers. “But I do not blame them for this. This State of affairs 
is one of the results of the British system”. ^3 Therefore, he made 
it clear that the reactionary rulers should expect “at the most 
fierce criticism of their methods and measures He declared 
that the native lulers would retain their states in independent 

India.^5 

The pro-feudal and compromising character of Gandhi’s 
approach stands fully exposed when one goes through the constitu- 
tion of the Princes and People’s Seiwice Society, which was drafted 
by Gandhi himself in 1928.^'’ Here it will be pertinent to quote it 
in original. 

The Princes & People’s Service Society; 

Object 

The object of the Society shall be the service of the princes 
and people of Indian States. 



88 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


Means 

(1) Where there is no prohibition from the State concerned to 
undertake constructive work such as promoting Khadi, 
prohibition, social reform, removing untouchability and 
communalism etc. 

(2) Where there is no prohibition from the State concerned, to 
make courteous submission to the Princes regarding the 
people’s grievances. 

(3) To conduct in a friendly spirit newspapers or magazines 
for the promotion of the object of the Society. 

(4) To discover the best basis of relations between the Princes 
and their people and the best system of government in 
accordance thereto and to cultivate public opinion on it. 

Note :-This Society does not share the opinion that the existence of 
the States is by their very nature contrary to the growth of 
the spirit of full democracy. The Society believes that 
their existence need not be inconsistent with the growth of 
such spirit 

Limitations 

1. To refrain from criticising the acts and policy of one Prince 
in the territories of another. 

2. To refrain from desiring or seeking the interference of the 
British Power in the affairs of the Indian States on any 
occasion whatsoever. 

3. No member of the Society shall ever depart from the path 
of truth and non-violence. 

4. In all matters of differences and doubts and in the deter- 
mination of new policies, reference shall be made to 
Mahatma Gandhi for his final decision. 

The above views of Gandhi about the princely states rest- 
rained the congress from involving itself m the affairs of these 
feudal states. The role of the leadership of freedom movement in 
India in the peasant movement has been analysed by E.M.S. 
Namboodripad which is near to some truth. He wrote that 

“The bourgeois leadership of the national movement, 
however, was not prepared for such a combination of 



89 


Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 

the national and agrarian revolutionary movement. 

On the other hand, the more well organised and the 
militant peasants are the more panicky become for the 
leadership. Instead of trying to learn the art of revolu- 
tionary resistance from the peasantry, they tried to 
teach the peasants the art of non-violent surrender. 

When the Bijolian peasantry and their leader Vijay Singh 
Pathik approached the Indian National Congress and Gandhi, they 
showed their concern. Gandhi sent his secretary Mahadev Desai 
to enquire into the affairs of Bijolia. He submitted his report to 
Gandhi, but nothing could be done in regard to Bijolia.^s Even, 
the Congress did not dare to pass a resolution against the feudal 
rulers. There was also differences between Gandhi and Pathik on 
the working of Pathik.^s At the time of the Ahmedabad session 
(June’ 1924) Gandhi expressed the view that the subjects of the 
native states, if they could not bear the sufferings, should perform 
the Hizrat. This view was expressed in the presence of the 
Bijolian peasants, whose leader Vijay Singh Pathik quipped that 
the advice was well suited for impotence.^o In fact Pathik con- 
tacted the Indian National Congress and Gandhi only to popula- 
rise the cause of Bijolia, Though he could not persuade the 
Congress leadership to extend active support, but he succeeded in 
getting the sympathy of them. When in 1921 the non-cooperation 
movement began in British India, the peasants in Bijolia felt 
encouraged to continue their movement in strong spirit. They 
were also of the view in 1920 that they are fighting on the call of 
Gandhi, by that time he became very much popular among the 
Indians. The nation-wide non-cooperation movement also became 
the source of inspiration for struggling peasants of Bijolia. 

On the instance of the British the thikana authorities tried 
to crush the movement through inficting atrocities. The Kisan 
Panchayat resisted the atrocities through its well organised and 
strong net work. The Kisan Panchayat also started shops, credit 
agencies to support the peasants. To get the support and intensify 
the movement Vijay Singh Pathik tried to launched the peasant 
movement in other parts of Udaipur state through Rajasthan Seva 
Sangh. By 1921 he had built up a strong peasant movement in 
the thikanas of Begun, Parsoli. Bhinder, Basi and some parts of 



90 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


KItalsa of the Udaipur State. In December 1921 the Resident of 
Udaipur reported that 

“the unrest is now spreading to Bhinder, an estate 
under the darkar management, where the cultivators 
are refusing to pay revenue. The situation in Bijolia 
and in the neighbouring thikanas of Parsoli, Begun, 
and Basi has distinctly deteriorated. There is a gen- 
eral refusal to pay revenue. There is threat of 
violence if any attempt is made to collect revenue or 
to enforce official orders. Panchayats have been 
formed in each village and over them :s a general 
committee for taking decision on civil, criminal and 
revenue cases. They meet on fixed days and refuse 
to admit the authority of the Jagirdars. They have 
established a complete system of boycott and excom- 
munication and impose fines on those who refuse to 
obey their summons. Large weekly meetings of 
cultivators armed with Lathis are held in every 
thikana. Volunteers wearing belts and badges have 
for the last three months been posted in each village. 

They disseminate notices of meetings and refuse to 
admit officials to the villages. An atmosphere of 
discontent is being created and the movement is 

spreading.”5l 

• In 1921 the movement entered into a more militant phase. 
The movement was being carried on in the name of Gandhi but it 
was quite different from the Gandhian style of functioning. In 
fact this phase was highly influenced by Russian Revolution of 
1917. Wilkinson’s Rajputana Agency Report of 1921 describes it 
as follows : 

“Mewar is becoming a hotbed of lawlessness. Sedi- 
tionist emissaries are teaching the people that all men 
are equal. The land belongs to the peasants and not 
to the State or landlords. It is significant that the 
people are being urged to use the vernacular equiva- 
lent of the word “Comrade” instead of the customary 
styles of address. His Highness is said to have been 
threatened to be meted the fate of the ‘czar’. The 



91 


Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 

movement is mainly anti-Maharana, but it might 
soon become anti-British and spread to adjoining 
British area !” 

In such circumstances the British Government was afraid 
that if the Bijolia agitation was not controlled in time it would 
spread throughout the Rajputana. The peasant movements in all 
over Udaipur State were in full swing, meanwhile Motilal Tejawat 
started the tribal movement of the Bhils of Mewar, Sirohi, Palan- 
pur, Danta, Sunth-Rampur and Marwar. The peasant move- 
ment of Bijolia was the main source of inspiration to other move- 
ments. Keeping this in view the British power decided to bring 
the Bijolia movement to an end. 

The Government of India appointed a high power committee 
consisting of the Agent to Governor-General in Rajputana, Robert 
Holland, his Secretary Col. Ogalvi, the Resident of Udaipur, 
Wilkinson, the Dewan of Udaipur, Prabhash Chandra Ghaterji, 
and the custom Hakim of Udaipur, Bihari Lai Kaushik.52 The 
said committee reached Bijolia on 4th February, 1922 and talks for 
agreement began on 5th February. In the talks the sarpanch of 
the Bijolia Kisan Panchayat Board, Moti Chand, Mantri Narain 
Patel, Secretary of Rajasthan Seva Sangh, Ram Narain Choudhary, 
and Manik Lai Verma represented the peasants.®3 After a long 
discussion an agreement was reached. The main terms of the 
agreement were as follows 

(1) Prisoners in Jail would be treated well on humantarian 
grounds and the thikana would have to bear all the 
expenses incurred on the prisoner during his stay in Jail. 
Female prisoners would be kept separate from males and 
would be treated in civilised manner. The scale of diets for 
prisoners would be as follows ; 


Wheat Flour 

12 

Chhatank 

Dal 

01 

99 

Green Vegetable 

03 


Masala (Spice) 

1/2 


Ghee 

1 



(21 The decisions of the Kisan Panchayats regarding mutual and 
communal dispute and criminal cases such as abusing, 



92 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


personal assualts and damage to crops by live-stocks would 
be acceptable to the thikana. Some reforms in the existing 
judicial system of thikana were also agreed upon. 

(3) A committee would be constituted to decide the rates of 
produce, on which the traders would purchase the produce 
twice a year at the time of land-revenue collection. Half 
of the members would be peasant. 

(4) The thikana would pay rupees thirty per month for the 
education of peasants through Kisan panchayats, which the 
panchayat can expend on its will, but the account would be 
submitted to the thikana every two months, but the 
literature prohibited by the Mewar State would not be 
taught. 

(5) The holdings of any peasant would not be seized untill the 
same had no legitimate owner or the land revenue of the 
same becomes due for three years without any proper 
reason. 

(6) If the crops are damaged due to natural calamity, interest 
will not be charged on the amount of land revenue for six 
months. Thereafter the rate of interest would be one 
per cent for the next six months. 

(7) The thikana would make proper arrangements for watch 
and ward. The thikana would appoint five sipahis (constable) 
and five sawars (horsemen) for Chowkidari. 

(8) When any peasant shall be asked by the thikana for security 
in some matter then not only the money-lender but any 
gentle peasant can be a surety. 

(9) All the cases filed against the peasants during the agitation 
would generally be withdrawn. The lands which were 
seized or alloted to others would be returned to the 
legitimate owners. Accordingly the peasant would also 
withdraw their case filed against the thikana officals during 
the agitation. 

(10) Sufficient pasture land would be provided in each village 
for grazing the cattle. 

(1 1) The trees grown in the holdings of the peasants would be 
his personal property. He would be free to use them 
without paying any revenue or ccss. 



Peasant Movements in the Udaiput State 


93 


(12) Land revenue would not be charged on the land which was 
left uncultivated by the peasants in protest during the 
Sambat 1975-1977 (Year 1918-1920). 

fl3) The land-revenue would not be charged on the land used 
for bara (courtyard) for cattle. 

(14) The reserved forest of Baijnathji-ka-Dara would be ended. 
And the land reserve in the Harjipura forest can be used 
by the peasants for grazing the cattle and getting wood. 

(15) The punishment of Khora (stock) would be totally 
abolished 

(16) The thikana would announce to the peasants as to which 
reserved forests would be open to them to cut grass and 
fire-wood for their personal use. If any peasant exceeded 
the limit of his personal necessity, he would be penalised. 

(17) The first collection would be of the land revenue from the 
produce of peasants. The decree of other debt would be 
executed only when it is found that the peasants have 
sufficient produce to serve his family upto next crop after 
paying the land revenue The following items would not 
be seized or forfeited or auctioned to execute the decree . 

(a) Clothes of his family, cooking utensils, and the orna- 
ments of women which can not be taken off due to 
religious tradition. 

(b) Agricultural implements, cattle and grain essential for 
his living. 

(c) House and other buildings and the things within these 
which are essential for his use. 

(18) The peasant would be free to cut the bushes and wood for 
fencing the farms and agricultural use even without the 
permission of the thikana. 

(19) The thikana would arrange the free distribution of 
medicines upto the cost of Rs. 20 per month. 

(20) The Rao agreed that the terms of the agreement would also 
be applied to the peasants of the petty Jagirdars of his 
thikana. 



94 Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

(21) The Noot-Barar ccss which was levied on the occassion of 
marriage of Jagirdar and other family members would not 
be forced but would remain voluntary, 

(22) The peasants would consider it their social duty to provide 
means of communication, carrier, servant labour and food- 
stuffs on proper payment to the visitors to their villages. 
The cost and fare will be decided by the Sarpanch of the 
village concerned. If for some special reason the help is 
not provided force would not be used. 

(23) A number of cesses were to be exempted and lessened for 
which a list was prepared and it was decided that the land 
revenue for future would be fixed after a new settlement. 
The new settlement would be based on general rules. Only 
those cesses would be charged alongwith the land revenue 
which are being charged in the British provinces too. 

The Talwar bandhai and Chhatund cess would remain 
unaffected by settlement. 

Till the new settlement is made the 3/4 of the land revenue 
fixed according the old contract system would be charged. All 
the arrears of land revenue which are due for last years would be 
charged in three annual instalments. 

When the new settlement is finalised and if the amount of 
land revenue is found more than the amount paid the difference 
would be charged from the peasants and in case it is less the 
difference would be returned to the peasants. 

(24) The total amount to be charged would be Rs. 2,225/-- 
instead of Rs. 6,300/- per annum and after the new settle- 
ment this amount would be included in the land revenue. 

(25) The work for new settlement would be begun from 1st 
October, 1922. 

(26) Land revenue would be charged in British Indian coins 
and batta (discount) would be taken on the prevailing rate 
at Mandalgarh and Bijolia. 

The above agreement was accepted by the representatives 
of thikana on 11th June, 1922. The agreement was a great victory 
for the peasants of Bijolia. 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


95 


The above agreement shows that the grievances of peasants 
related to various aspects were properly touched by this agree- 
ment. Provisions of medical aid and education were made in this 
agreement. The judicial, police and Jail reforms were the signs of 
modern age. The authorities recognised the Kisan Panchayat as 
an important representative body of the peasants. The panchayat 
was entrusted with many powers and functions. The psovisions 
foi abolition of begar, exemption and reduction of cesses, peasants’ 
rights on natural products and use of forest for grazing and fire 
wood were of great importance as these provisions paved the way 
for economic progress. The agreement for new settlement on 
general rules meant the reduction of arbitrary feudal control over 
the lands. Moreover, the Bijolia movement became a pioneering 
movement not only in Mewar State but all over Rajasthan, which 
encouraged the peasants to fight against feudal bondage. 

During the second phase of the Bijolia peasant movement 
the peasants of all parts of Udaipur State arose in rebellion. It is 
pertinent to study these movements which were considerably 
influenced by this phase. These not only succeeded in awakening 
the peasant masses but also provided strength to the Bijolia 
movement. The growth of the peasant movements in other parts 
of Udaipur State compelled the British, State and thikana 
authorities to concede the demands of Bijolian peasants. The other 
peasant movements of Udaipur State which arose under the 
influence of Bijolia were as follows : 

Peasant Agitation in the Khalsa Area 

The conditions of peasants in the Khalsa area were better 
in comparison to the peasants of Jagirs but the peasants of Khalsa 
were not free from feudal exploitation. In 1921 the peasants of 
the Khalsa area from various parts of Udaipur State organised 
themselves through their caste Panchayats and launched an agita- 
tion. There were many factors which gave impetus to the 
peasants of the Khalsa area to fight against the State authorities. 
Among these factors the influence of the Bijolia movement was 
very prominent. 

During the Bijolia agitation the peasants of Bijolia left the 
lands of thikana uncultivated in protest and for their livelihood 



96 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


they cultivated the lands in the K/ialsa areas. The peasants of 
these areas were impressed by the agitating Bijolian Kisans. They 
also decided to organise themselves on the pattern of the Bijolia 
movcment.cs The leaders of Bijolia thought that the Bijolia 
movement would be isolated if it was not linked with the peasant 
masses of other parts of Udaipur State, To earn the support of 
the peasants of other parts Pathik reached them thiough Rajasthan 
Seva Sangh. The year 1920 was the year of national uphcavel 
undci the influence of the Non* Cooperation Movement. The 
peasants of Bijolia and other parts attended the Nagpur session of 
Congress with Vijay Singh Pathik. They were inspired by the pro- 
gramme drawn up by the Indian National Congress, This proved a 
second important factor which encouraged the peasants of other 
parts of Udaipur State, Inspiration drawn from the Russian 
Revolution also prepared the peasants psychologically. The 
effects of the 1st World War further worsened the conditions 
of the peasants. All these factors compelled the peasant to 
agitate. 

In April 1921 hundreds of Jat peasants fiom different parts 
assembled at Udaipur to submit their memorandum to the 
Maharana of Udaipur. They put their demands before the Maharana 
regarding land rights, heavy land revenue, cesses, tribute and 
forced labour. With above memorandum the peasant deputation 
threatened the state authorities that they would not cultivate the 
lands until they received a satisfactory answer.®® Upto the end 
of May 1921 a number of peasant deputations presented their 
grievances before the Maharana, The above method on the one 
side furthered the cause of peasants and on the other it organised 
the peasants. The caste panchayats which were in existence 
from the time immemorial were activated during this period. 
Previously these panchayats were concerned with social matters 
and worked as the custodians of the social norms, customs and 
traditions. The panchayats were empowered to outcaste any 
person who acted contrary to the social norms. Obviously, they 
exercised great powers over the communities. The peasant 
leaders like Manik Lai Verma and Vijay Singh Pathik involved 
the caste panchyats in economic struggle and they built up a 
strong peasant movement. 


Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


97 


In Decembei, 1921 a meeting was held at Pandoli village to 
spread the Kisan Andolan in the other parts of Udaipur State. 
Infact it was a Kisan Sammelan in which panchas of caste 
panchayats, representatives of Rajasthan Seva Sangh and the 
Secretary of Rajputana-Madhyabharat Sabha assembled. 5^ In 
this conference it was decided that the peasants should be united 
in the Bijolian manner. The assembled persons were assigned to 
propagate the Bijolia movement in their areas. It was also agreed 
upon that the next sammelan would be held at Matrikundia fair 
where large number of peasants used to assemble every year. In 
May 1922 on the occassion of Matrikundia fair the Second Kisan 
Sammelan was held. In this conference it was decided that high 
rate of land revenue, cesses and forced labour system should be 
opposed. It was also decided that the five panchas of every 
district would approach the Maharana to mitigate their miseries. 
They also agreed upon to send a circular to the caste panchayats 
of each village for refusal of land revenue until their demands 
were conceded. Any one who did anything contrary to this 
decision would be outcasted for twelve years.®^ This movement 
could not catch on because organisational weaknesses. In all the 
above conferences no formal organisation was formed which 
could became the nucleus. It was not practical to continue the 
movements all over Udaipur State with the help of local caste 
panchayats of different castes. However, the above efforts were not 
entirely fruitless. On the one hand these efforts gave encouragement 
to the Bijolia movement and on the other they succeeded in 
getting some relief regarding cesses and forced labour. When the 
agitating activities began in the Khalsa area the State tried to 
keep the peasants aloof from the peasant movements of thikanas. 
The State announced some concession and assured the peasants 
to reduce land revenue of pacify them. 

Movements in Other Thikanas 

Under the direct influence of the Bijolia movement the pea- 
sants of the thikanas of Parsoli, Bhainsrodgarh, Basi, Mandesra and 
Begun arose against the policies of their respective thikanas. As has 
already been mentioned, the conditions of the peasants ofjagirs 
or thikanas were quite deplorable and the peasants were victims 
of feudal oppression in its most crude and naked form. The 



98 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


Bijolia movement inspired the peasants of other feudatories. The 
peasant movements of other (hikanas were crushed mercilessly. 
Only the movement in thikana Begun got promince as the peasants 
of this also resisted for a long time and ultimately they got an 
agreement similar to the Bijolian peasants. Here it is relevant to 
narrate the peasant movement of Begun feudatories. 

Begun was a neighbouring Jagir ofBijoIia and the majority 
of peasants was also of Dhakar caste. The peasants also organised 
themselves on the model of Bijolia. In 1922 a norent compaign 
was also launched in Begun but it was suppressed by the cruel 
Jagirdar. The peasants of Begun approached the leaders of 
Rajasthan Seva Sangh for help and support. The Secretary of the 
Sangh Ram Narain Ghoudhary was sent to guide and help the 
peasants of Begun.co He went to Udaipur and approached the 
Prime Minister, who assured him to conduct an enquiry into the 
matter, but it was not conducted until the end of 1922. As the 
Rajasthan Sex a Sangh was trying to spread the movement of 
peasants in all parts of Udaipur State, the Sangh considering the 
present situation, decided to concentrate on Begun. 

The Mewar Government threatened the Jagirdar of Begun 
that he should either put an end to the Kisan agitation through 
any means or he might be deprived of his powers and the Jagir 
would be brought under the direct management of State.d The 
Jagirdar entered into an agreement with the peasants at Ajmer 
through Vijay Singh Pathik, but the agreement was not acceptable 
to the British Resident of Mewar as he called it a Bolshevik 
settlement. The Jagirdar of Begun was summoned to Udaipur 
by the State and British authorities and the Jagir was put under 
the State management in March, 1923.62 The peasants were 
insisting that the new officers should accept the Ajmer agreement. 
The new officers who were posted to pacify the peasants failed in 
pacifying the peasants. In fact this time the powers of the State 
were transferred to Maharaj Kumar Bhupal Singh who 
proved to be a puppet in the hands of British. He and his officials 
could not dare to make any settlement without the permission of 
their British lords. In June 1923 Udaipur State constituted an 
enquiry commission under G. C. Trench, the Settlement Commis- 
sioner of the State, for settlement with the peasants of Begun 
On 13th June, 1923 the said commission reached Begun. 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


99 


The centre of the movement of Begun was a village, Raita, 
while the Trench commission was stationed at Beghn, The 
Commission asked the peasants to appear before the Commission 
at Begun, but the peasants refused to appear before the Commis- 
sion as they insisted that the Commission should camp at Raita. 
The stands of both sides created a deadlock and no settlement 
could be reached. The peasants boycotted the Commission and 
the Commission arbitrarily prepared a decision. In this decision 
Vijay Singh Pathik was charged with the allegation of inducing 
seditious spirit among the peasants and establishing a parallel 
Government. The Kisan Panchayat charged with illegal activities 
and it was also decided that the prevailing land revenue, cesses 
and begars were justified .63 The decision was sent to the 
panchayat on 10th July, 1923. The panchayat was not supposed 
to think over on it as the decision was full of threats 64 After 
receiving it. the panchayat gave a warning that until the police 
was withdrawn it would not be possible to accept the decision.®^ 

In fact the panchayat ignored the Commission and continued 
their campaign without any fear. On 12th July, 1913, a large 
meeting of peasants was held at a village, Govindpura. The 
purpose of this meeting was said to discuss the decision sent by 
the commission. It was also propogated that the Settlement 
Commissioner, Trench, would be present to discuss the grievances 
of the peasants at this meeting. This meeting attracted a large 
number of people including women and children On this occas- 
s\on the Navyuwak Mandal also called their members for annual 
function. This programme further added the strength of youths 
to the gathering of Govindpura.®® The assembly of peasants at 
Govindpura encouraged the leaders and activities of the Kisan 
Panchayat and the leaders decided that their meeting would be 
continued until their demands were conceded.®? 

Tbe above activities intensified the movement still more 
vigorously. The situation alarmed the State and British autho- 
rities. The Government of India was pressing Udaipur S ate 
hard to suppress the peasant movement of Begun with military 
power. The British authorities were afraid that a long drawn- 
out movement might spread all over Rajputana and could engulf 
the British provinces nearby. They again and again designated 



100 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


the peasant movements of Udaipur State as '‘Bolshevik” revolu- 
tion.cs There were also some other reasons which pressed the 
British to think of taking repressive measures to deal with this 
movement. This movement was not an isolated one. This was 
preceded and followed by such movements not only in Mewar 
and Rajasthan but in other areas of the country'. Under the 
influence of the Non- Cooperation Movement these type of move- 
ments arose in large parts of the United Provinces of Agra and 
Awadh, in Punjab, Bihar and Kerla. Most of these movements 
were spontaneous and there was a possibility of conversion of 
these into united peasant revolutions in India. It must, however, 
be admitted that the fear of the British was not baseless. The 
leaders of the movements knew about the Russian Revolution 
and they referred to it in their speeches. Therefore, any move- 
ment of Bolshevik nature caused fear among the British and they 
wanted to put on end to it. By this time the Chouri-Choura inci- 
dent and the suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement had 
changed the British attitude towards the peasant movement. Now, 
the Government decided to suppress the peasantry instead of 
pacifying them. 

Mr. G. C. Trench, the Settlement Commissioner of Udaipur 
State, reached Govindpura at about 5 A.M. on 13th July, 1923 
with State troops. He again warned the leaders to accept the 
decision of the Commission. The leaders refused the decision 
strongly. The troops encircled the village and firing was resorted 
to. Two activists Roopa, of village Jainagar and Kripa, of 
Amarpura, were shot dead. On the Government records one 
man lost his life, about 25 men were wounded and 485 men were 
arrested. According to the newspaper Tarun Rajasthan, eleven 
men lost their lives, about hundred were wounded, and 540 were 
arrested along with women and children.70 The women were 
treated in a humiliating manner. The panchayat , office at Raita 
was raided and all the papers were siezed. All the activities of 
panchayat were banned. Through this action the authorities 
succeeded in suppressing the peasant movement of Begun. 

Vijay Singh Pathik was perturbed with this incident and 
he himself deeided to come to Begun to review and revitalise the 
movement. Immediately after this incident he came to Begun, 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


101 


although his entry was banned in the territory of Udaipur State. 
There he worked secretely and built-up the no-rent movement 
again, on the advise of Pathik the Kisan Panchayat decided that 
these persons who paid revenue to the thikana would be socially 
boycotted. It was also announced that no marital relations 
would be established with them. The Mahajans were also 
boycotted by the peasants as they were in close co-operation with 
the thikana. The panchayat also opened its own shops. 7t The 
revived activities of Pathik alarmed the authorities and they 
decided to arrest him. On 10th September, 1923 Pathik was 
arrested. He was tried by a special court and was sentenced to 
three and a half years imprisonment and fined Rs. l, 500/-.^2 
With the arrest of Pathik the movement of Begun lost the 
momentum. The thikana authorities started collecting the land 
revenue forcibly which was due for three years. Though the 
movement was crushed down yet this brought about some changes 
in the conditions of peasants. The new settlement was started in 
Begun in December, 1923 under the pressure of this movement. 

In 1922 the Bhils of Mewar and other States also arose 
under the leadership of Motilal Tejawat. Initially the Bhils were 
impressed with the Bijolia movement. This movement has been 
discussed separately. 

Third Phase 

The agreement of February 1922 was not implemented by 
the authorities due to their changing attitude towards the peasant 
movements. By the end of 1923 the peasant uprisings in other 
parts were put to an end with repressive measures, which encou- 
raged the British, State and thikana authorities to deal with the 
peasants cruelly. The arrest of Vijay Singh Pathik gave a severe 
set-back to the peasant movement of Bijolia. The thikana paid no 
attention to implement the agreement. 

The changing attitude of the authorities caused great hard- 
ship among the peasants. During the period 1923-1926 there was 
draught and famine in Bijolia The land revenue and cesses were 
collected. This state of affair further worsened the conditions of 
the peasants and they became heavily indebted to the money- 
lenders. The Kisan Panchayat made a number of petitions for 



102 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


relief, but the authorities ignored them. In fact the authorities 
succeeded in keeping the movement under strict control. Vijay 
Singh Pathik was in prison and the second leader Manik Lai 
Verma was not able to launch a fresh agitation. 

Vijay Singh Pathik was released on 28th April, 1927 under 
an order in which his re-entry in Mewar was forbidden. '^3 By this 
time Manik Lai Verma detached himself from the Bijolia move- 
ment as differences arose between him and Pathik. Vijay Singh 
Pathik planned a course of action for peasant agitation at Bijolia. 
On 18th May Pathik met the leaders of Kisan Panchayat at 
Singoli in Gwalior territory. He was enthiuisiastically received. 
Vijay Singh Pathik advised the Kisan Panchayat to give up non- 
irrigated holdings as a protest against the increase of land revenue 
and also to boycott state schools and start their own as a protest 
against official attacks on their independence. The members of 
the Panchayat gave a pledge to observe truth and non-violence, to 
wear khadi, to abstain from intoxciants and to maintain the 
panchayat at all costs. Literate girls took a pledge each to teach 
three girls to read and write. A ceremony was carried out at 
which men who, as a token of devotion to Pathik had not cut their 
hair for the last four years, cut their hair.74 

In the month of June 1927 the peasants started sending 
their conditional resignations from their unirrigated holdings 75 
The thikana took strong exception of this decision. The peasant 
considered the resignations as an effective measure of protest. They 
were also of firm belief that this step would again compel the 
thikana to accept their demands. But, this time the thikana decided 
to crush this movement without granting any concession. The 
peasants complained that the thikana had violated the agreement 
of 1922. The land revenue fixed for the unirrigated land was very 
high. They further complained that the thikana authorities were 
interfering in the affairs of their education, panchayat and khadi.t^ 
In protest the peasant panchayat of Bijolia submitted collective re- 
signation of peasants from unirrigated land. The thikana did not 
accept the collective resignation. It was the view of the authorities 
that the acceptance of collective resignation would intensify the 
agitation and to break their unity the thikana asked the peasants 
to submit their resignations individually. The peasants then sub- 
mitted their individual resignations and the same were accepted 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


103 


by the thikana. The thikana decided to allot the surrendered land 
to the other peasants. The Dhakar peasants impended this process 
by threatening that “they will obtain possession of the surrendered 
holdings and that those who take them will lose their money” 
The peasants of other castes also co-operated with the Dhakar pea- 
sants and refused to take the surrendered land. The thikana autho- 
rities tried to their best to break the unity of peasants on caste 
basis, but could not succeed. 

In fact by this time the class consciousness had attained a 
certain level among the peasants. The surrendered lands remain- 
ed unoccupied as no peasant of other caste accepted these. The 
authorities were determined to allot these lands to others and 
they persuaded the Mahajans to take possession of these. The 
surrendered lands were allotted to the Mahajans and Bapidari 
(permanent occupancy) rights were conferred on them.78 The 
thikana allotted 8,000 bighas of surrendered land to the new 
Bapidars upto 1930.'^9 This action of the thikana disheartened 
the peasants and induced uneasiness among them. The peasants 
tried to get their land evicted from the new occupants by force 
but they could not succeed as troops were stationed in every 
village to protect the new occupants. 80 

The Kisan Panchayat was disillusioned by the new situation. 
Differences arose among the leaders of the Bijolia movement 
which further weakened the movement. In 1930 the leadership 
passed into the hands of Jamnalal Bajaj and Haribhau Upadhyay 
who were unknown among the peasants. After 1930 the peasant 
movement of Bijolia gradually declined ard was concentrated on 
the demand for the return of their surrendered lands This 
was also due to the view of the Congress regarding the princely 
states. The new leaders were the supporters of the official line 
of Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. Obviously, under 
the changed leadership the peasant movement of Bijolia lost its 
spirit. The peasant got their surrendered lands in 1939 when they 
became aloof from all the political activities and assured the 
thikana that they would never go on agitation in future.81 

The Bijolia peasant movement which continued nearly for 
half a century met a very adverse end due to various reasons. 
The movement had remained limited to the local level. Though 



104 


Peaasnt Movements in Rajasthan 


efforts were made to co-ordinate this movement with the national 
stream but the Congress leadership acted to the contrary. It was 
easy for the authorities to crush an isolated movement. When in 
1938 the Congress supported the freedom struggle of the princely 
state and advised them to form Praja Mandal in the States, they 
aimed at a moyement for a responsible government. The national 
leadership never supported the peasant struggles. During the 
early phase of the Bijolia movement the feudal elements did not 
take it much seriously but during last phase they openly confron- 
ted the peasants. 

The Bijolia Peasant movement could not attain its ultimate 
goal but it did succeed in infusing anti-feudal consciousness 
among the peasants of Rajasthan. It also proved a severe attack 
on feudalism. It also inspired and encouraged such type of move- 
ments in the other parts of Rajasthan. This prepared the ground 
for mass struggle and social development. Considering the 
above points, the importance of the Bijolia peasant movement is 
obvious. 


REFERENCES 

1. R. N. Choudhary, Adinmik Rajasthan Ka Uttlian, Ajmer, 
1974, p. 47. 

2. S.S. Saxena, and P. Sharma, Bijolia Kisan Andolan-ka-ltihas, 
Bikaner 1972, p. 6. 

3. The statement of Vijay Singh Pathik before the special 
Judicial commission, p. 17. 

4. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur, Confidential 
Record, File No. 124, Pad No. 13. 

5. Sarkar, Sumit, Modern India. 1885-1947 New' Delhi, 1984 
p. 155. 

6. S. S. Saxena, Jo-Desh~Ke-Liya~Jiyz, {Yashogatha Lok Na}ak 
Shri Manik Lai Verma), Bikaner 1974, p. 19. 

7. R. N. Choudhary, Bcesavin Sadi Ka Rajasthan, Ajmer, 1980, 

p. 62. 


Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


105 


8. S. S. Saxena Op. Cit., p. 18. 

9. S. S, Saxena, and P. Sbarma, Op. Cit., p. 41. 

10. Ibid., p. 43. 

11. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner; documents related to 
Bijolia Movement quoted by S. S. Saxena, P. Sharma in 
their book Bijolia Kisan Andolan Ka Itihas, p. 47. 

12. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., p. 47. 

13. I. T. Prichard, The Mutinies in Rajpootana, p. 228 (First 
printed 1860, London) Indian Reprint, Ajmer, 1976. 

14. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur Confidential 
Records, Pile No. 124, Pad No. 13. 

15. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., pp. 48-49. 

16. Ibid., p. 48. 

17. Sumit Sarkar, Op. Cit., p. 155. 

18. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., p. 52. 

19. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur Confidential 
Records, File No. 381 A, Pad No. 4. 

20. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur Confidential Rec- 
ords, File No. 381 A, Pad No. 4. 

21. R. N. Ghoudhary, Op. Cit., p. 47. 

22. S. S. Saxena, Op. Cit., pp. 24-25. 

23. R. N. Ghoudhary Op. Cit., p. 48. 

24. Ibid. 

25. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., p. 81. 

26. R. N. Ghoudhary, Op. Cit , p. 49, 

27. S. S, Saxena and P. Sharma Op. Cit., pp. 86-87. 

28. Ibid., p. 79. 

29. R. N, Ghoudhary, Op. Cit., p. 48. 

30. Sumit Sarkar, Op. Cit., pp. 200-201. 

31. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, OP. Cit., p. 91. 

32. Ibid. 

33. Ibid., p 103. 

34. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur Confidential 
Records, File No. 144, Pad No. 15. 



106 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


35. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma Op. Cit., p. 106. 

36. The Pratap, 10th May, 1920, 

37. Ibid. 

38. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., pp. 120-122. 

39. Ibid., pp. 106-109. 

40. Ibid.,p.m. 

41. /6/rf., pp. 113-114. 

42. Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol XXI, p. 443. 

43. Ibid., Vol. XXIII, p. 471 and Vol. XXIV, pp. 205-206. 

44. Ibid.,No\ XXI, p. 444. 

45. Ibid. 

46. R, N. Ghoudhary, Op. Cit., pp. 106-109. 

47. E.M.S. Namboodripad, Kerla Yesterday Today and 
Tomorrow, Calcutta, 1968, p. 135. 

48. S. S. Saxena, and P. Sharma, Op. Cit.. pp. 108-109. 

49. Ibid., p. 108. 

50. S. S Saxena, Patluk, Bikaner, 1963, pp. 160-161. 

51. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foieign and Political 
Deptt., File No. 428-p. (Secret) of 1923. 

52. R. N. Ghoudhary, Op. Cit., pp. 67-68 

53. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., p. 138. 

54. Ibid., pp. 145-155 and Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, 
Udaipur Confidential Record, File No. 31! A, Pad No. 4. 

55. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., pp. 162-165. 

56 National Archives of India, New Delhi. Foreign & Political 
Deptt. File No. 428, Political (Secret) of 1923. 

57. S. S. Saxena, P. Sharma Op. Cit., pp- 188-89. 

58. Ibid., pp. 189-190. 

59. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign & Political 
Deptt. File No. 428, Political (Secret) 1923. 

60. R N. Ghoudhary, Op. Cit., pp. 54-56. 

61 National Archives of India, New Delhi, Home Political 
Deptt. File No. 18, 1922. 

62. S. S. Saxena, and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., p. 181. 



Peasant Movements in the Udaipur State 


107 


63. Ibid., p. 183. 

64. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur Confidential 
Records File No. 123, Pad No. 13, 1923. 

65. Tarun Rajasthan, dated 22nd July, 1923. 

66. S. S. Saxena, and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., pp. 183-84. 

67. Ibid. 

68. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Political 
Department, File No. 428-P (Secret), 1923. 

69. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur Confidential 
Records, File No. 123, Pad No. 13, 1923. 

70. Tarim Rajasthan, 5 August, 1923. 

71. S. S. Saxena, and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., p. 187. 

72. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign <6 Political 
Department, File No. 74-Political, 1924-25. 

73. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Politi- 
cal Department, File No. 421-P. 1927. 

74. Ibid. 

75. Ibid. 

76. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma Op. Cit., p. 231. 

77. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign & Political 
Department, File No. 421-P. 1927. 

78. Rajasthan State Archives, Branch Udaipur, Mahakama Khas, 
File No. 22, 1937-38. 

79. Ibid., Bikaner, Udaipur Confidential Record File No. 381-A, 
Pad No. 4. 

80. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign & Political 
DeptU, Pile No. 421-P. 1927. 

Rajasthan State Archives, Branch Udaipur, Mahakma Khas, 
File No. 22, 1937-38. 


81 . 



5 


BHIL MOVEMENT UNDER THE LEADERSHIP 
OF MOTILAL TEJAWAT 


The tribal movement under the leadership of Govindgir 
was confined to the States of Dungarpur, Banswara, Sunth 
Rampur and Idar only. A large number of Bhils in the States 
of Udaipur, Sirohi and Bundi remained aloof from this movement. 
The movement of the Bhils under the leadership of Govindgir 
was suppressed by the British forces, but it influenced the Bhils 
of Gujarat, Central India and Rajasthan. The British authorities 
advised these States to adopt precautionary measures to prevent 
Bhil movements. They were also advised that to pacify the Bhils 
certain reforms in regard of forest rules, land revenue and begar 
should be made. But things remained at the level of correspond- 
ence only and nothing substantial was done. The conditions of 
Bhils were worsening instead of improving. Their discontentment 
was reflected in various agitations. Between 1913-20 many agitations 
arose but all were suppressed. These agitations were also influenced 
by the Bijolia peasant movement but could not develop on the 
same line due to various reasons. 

These movements were spontaneous, isolated and unorga- 
nised. Obviously, in the absence of proper leadership these 
movements could not gain momentum. 

In the wake of the Non- Co-operation Movement the Bhils 
of Mewar and other Stales I osc under the Icader.ship ofMotiLal 
Tejawat in 1921. Moti Lai Tejawat was Oswal bania by caste 
and belonged to village KoHari in Jharolc ihikana of Udaipur 
State. He worked as Kamdar in Jharolc thikatia for some time. 



Bhil-Movement —Moti Lai Tejawat 


109 


During this period he came in contact with the Bhils of that 
tiukana. Due to some differences with the Jagirdar of Jharole 
he left the service of thikana and adopted the profession of a spice 
merchant. He sold spices around the villages in the Bhil tract 
and was a regular visitor to Ghitre-Vichitre fair held every 
month at Samalia under Poshina thikana. Further, his business 
brought him in close contact with all the Bhils of Udaipur 
State. He was aggrieved by the plight of the Bhils and started 
work among them for their upliftment. He worked for social 
reforms in the beginning and his preachings in the main were as 
follows.l 

( i ) Liquor shall not be drunk. 

(ii ) A man shall not marry a brother’s widow by force. 

(iii) No woman whose husband is living shall marry another 
man. 

(tv) Abduction of an unmarried woman shall be punishable by 
heavy fine. 

(v ) A widow can re-marry at her own free will. 

(vi) No money shall be taken on the occasion of the marriage 
of an unmarried woman. 

(vii) A woman guilty of illicit intcrrouise with a man shall be 
excommunicated . 

(viii) No Bhil shall eat the flesh of cattle. 

(ix) No Bhil shall commit thelt. 

The social reform activities of Moti Lai Tejawat spread his 
popularity among the Bhils. Along with these he also started Eki 
(Unity) movement. The Eki movement aimed at a united opposi- 
tion to all types of exploitation of Bhils by the States and J3g*r ars. 
‘^he Bhils were also preached that they were the natural owners 
of the soil and they had been illtreated by the authorities. The 
Bhils were also advised that they should remain aloof from the 
State’s and Jagirdar’s courts because these were founded on 
injustice. All the above ideas and preachings induced a new life 
and consciousness among the Bhils. Though the activities of Moti 
Lai Tejawat were limited around the Jharole Jagir but his 
influence was spreading rapidly in other Bhil tracts also. His 



110 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


growing influence alarmed the authorities and to accept the 
challange the authorities took rigorous measures which increased 
the oppressive power of the authorities upon the Bhils. Moti Lai 
Tcjawat met Vijay Singh Pathik and other leaders to chalk out a 
programme for redressal of the grievances of the Bhils. He was 
highly influenced by the Non-Co-operation Movement at the 
national level and he also wanted to launch such type of move- 
ment of the Bhils. By this time the Bijolia peasant movement bad 
also reached to its climax which inspired Tejawat and when he 
got the assurance of support from the leaders of Bijolia he finalised 
his programme.2 In the month of July, 1921 he gave a call for 
the non-cooperation movement to the Bhils along with the call of 
no-rent compaign.3 

Mbfi" La.1 Tejawat s call received proper response which 
resulted in a powerful Bhil movement. Major Sutton, Assistant 
Political Superintendent of Kotra, wrote about the activities of 
Tejawat during this movement thus: “Motilal is a follower of 
Mahatma Gandhi and he tells the people that when Gandhi 
becomes supreme they would only have to pay one anna in the 
rupee and that il they refused to follow him they would be 
crushed.”^ This mischievous remark showed the uneasiness of 
the British resulting from fear of the Bhil movement. But it is 
also a fact that Tejawat launched this movement under the influ- 
ence and name of Gandhi. The Bhils ofjharole tJiikana refused 
to pay land revenue, cesses, taxes and to do begar. This was the 
main centre of Tejawat’s activities. 

The T/w/twr of Jharole alarmed by the situation and with 
a view to bringing under control he arrested Moti Lai Tejawat 
on 19th August, 1921.^ The arrest of Tejawat provoked the 
Bhils and thousand of Bhils assembled to get their leader released. 
The huge gathering of the Bhils compelled the Thakur to release 
Tejawat. Tejawat now intensified his movement and he gave call 
from village to village by beating drums not to pay the taxes and 
to observe non-co-operation w'ith the authorities. The Bhils took 
an oath to obey the decisions of Tejawat. They also decided that 
if some one disobeyed he would be punished by outcasting him or 
by imposing fines.6 These decisions were taken by the Bhils who 
belonged to the Jharole Jagir but the Bhils ofBhuroat were also 



Ml. 


Bliil-Movement — Moti Lai Tejawat 

taking the same line. Bhumat was the area densely populated by 
the Bhils. It comprised of parts of various Jagirs and the Khalsa 
land of Udaipur State. To keep the Bhils under control the 
British formed Bhumat an administrative unit under the rule of a 
military officer of the rank of a Major with headquarters at Kotra 
and Kherwara. Tejawat toured the . Bhumat area to extend his 
activities and he became very popular there. It was the belief 
of the Bhils that Tejawat was a holy emissary of Gandhi. They 
even regarded him as a blessing of God and a large number of 
Bhil population flocked to meet him. They took the oath to fight 
under his leadership and they showed dedication to him by plac- 
ing their lives at his disposal. The Bhils followed him honestly 
and they refused to pay land revenue, cesses, other taxes and 
to perform begar. They also started using natural products without 
permission. The administration became paralysed and lost 
control over a large tract of Udaipur State inhabited by the Bhil 
population. For instance when the officials of Jharole Jagir were 
collecting the revenue, Moti Lai Tejawat reached there with a 
strength of two thousand Bhils and seized the collected amount of 
revenue the officials were beaten and taken as hostage.’ 

The Maharam and British authorities feared the growing 
influence of Tejawat and the Udaipur Government ordered on 31st 
December, 1921 that the Jagirdars of Bhumat should not allow 
any meeting attended by more than 50 persons without written 
permission. Along wi h this order the State also announced a reward 
of Rs. 500/- for the arrest of Moti Lai Tejawat.8 The State also 
announced that any one giving shelter or assistance to him would 
be liable to punishment.^ 

The above measures taken by Udaipur state failed to 
control the situation. By this time the Bhil movement had acquired 
a strong mass base. The Bhils continued their resistance. Moti 
Lai Tejawat entered Sirohi State in January, 1922, where a large 
number of Bhils resided. They were also impressed with his acti- 
vities at Udaipur and they wanted to launch a similar movement 
in Sirohi. In fact Tejawat did not flee from Udaipur due to any 
fear of Udaipur authorities but he was invited by the Bhils of 
Sirohi. He was also confident that his followers of Udaipur weie 
capable of continuing the movement in his absence. During 
January and April, 1922 the Udaipur State, British authorities 



112 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


and Jagirdars of Bhumat announced various concessions to Bhils 
regarding land revenue, begar, cesses and other taxes which, 
however, were not acceptable to the Bhils. On many pretexts they 
refused to pay the land revenues and other taxes and continued to 
defy the authorities. 

There was a reason behind the non-acceptance of the 
concessions. After launching the movement, Tejawat entered 
Idar State (Gujarat) in the month of March, 1922. When Moti 
Lai Tejawat was staying at Pol in Jdar State with his 2000 
followers the Mewar Bhil crops under Major Sutton encircled 
him on 7th March 1922 and opened fire. The government 
sources mentioned that 22 men of Tcjawat’s group were killed 
and 29 were wounded. ^0 This incident compelled the Bhils to 
intensify their movement. Again, in June 1922 a fresh agreement 
was concluded between the Garnetts and Jagirdars of Bhumat. 
But this agreement also could not succeed in bringing the move- 
ment to an end because various disputes arose in the implementa- 
tion of agreement. The Bhil movement of Udaipur State finally 
ended after 1929 when Tejawat was arrested. 

Sirohi State became the second important centre of the 
Bhil movement under the leadenship of Moti Lai Tejawat. The 
condition of the Bhils in Sirohi State were also similar to that of 
the Bhils of Udaipur State. In January, 1922 Tejawat entered 
Sirohi State. Here he also started social reforms among the 
Bhils on the Udaipur Model. Along with social reforms an 
economic struggle was also launched for the emancipation of the 
tribals. To achieve social and economic goals Eki was organised. 
Tejawat addressed a number of meetings of Bhils and Garassias 
in January 1922 and openly called them not to pay the revenue 
and to disobey the State authorities. The message of Tejawat 
was owned by the Bhils and Garassias of Sirohi honestly and 
religiously. In the last week of January, 1922 a number of 
incidents of looting and assault on officials by the tribe men were 
reported. Hence, they became violent. 

Rama Kant Malviya, son of the national leader Madan 
Mohan Malviya, was the Dewan of Sirohi State. > He used his 
father’s goodwill to check the tribal movement. He might have 
Been liberal towards the tribals but his class interests were 



Bhil-Movement — Moti Lai Tejawat 


113 


contrary to them. Rama Kant Malviya also approached 
Mahatma Gandhi and invited Vijay Singh Pathik, leader of 
Bijolia and President of Rajasthan Seva Sangh, to settle the 
matter.ll Mahatma Gandhi sent Manilal Kothari to Sirohi and 
he approached Tejawat to give up the violent movement .12 All 
these efforts proved futile because it was not possible to pacify 
the Bhils and Garassias without giving concessions. The State 
decided to crush the movement through military action on the 
advise of the British. The military action of 7 March, 1922 at 
Pol in Idar State was the first step in this direction. In fact the 
Non-Go-operation Movement was called off in February 1922 
and the British authorities crushed down other movements of 
peasants and tribals all over India. Though these movements 
were not sponsored by the Indian National Congress, but they 
emerged under the influence of Gandhi and his Non-Co-operation 
movement. With the withdrawl of the Non-Go-operation Move- 
ment the movements of down trodden masscss lost moral support. 
Ramakant Malviya tried to put down the tribal movement of 
Sirohi with the help of Gandhi and the leaders of Rajasthan Seva 
Sangh. But with the failure of his efforts he got irritrated and 
decided to send State troops to Siawa, a leading village of Garas- 
sias to collect the States dues.^^ The State troops attacked the 
said village on 12th April, 1922. In this operation many Garassias 
lost their lives and a heavy loss was done by the forces by burning 
the houses, grain and cattle. The military operations continued. 
On 5th May, 1922 the troops attacked Valeria village and a major 
portion of this village was burnt and eleven tribals lost their 
lives.15 On 6th May the villages of Bhula and Nauapas were 
attacked and most of the huts of these villages wese burnt.l® 

These military operations it is obvious, were meant to 
terrorise the iriabis. The Indian National Congress did not notice 
tt. It was the Rajasthan Seva Sangh which took a serious view 
of it and appointed Ram Narain Choudhary and Satya Bhakta to 
enquire into the incidcnts.l^ The Seva Sangh gave wide publicity 
to the report prepared by Ram Narain Choudhary and Satya 
Bhakta. The workers of Seva Sangh established their relations 
With some members of the British Pailiament who belonged to 
the Labour Party. 18 They used to send all important statements, 
reports and purchase to them. When the questions were asked 



114 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


in the Parliament by the Labour Members then the Government 
of India and States concerned were contacted. This incident 
was also brought up in the British Parliament by the Rajasthan 
Seva Sangh. 

The military operations shocked the moral courage of 
Bhils and Garassias. The Panchas (Headmen) of the affected 
villages reached the Dewan of State and expressed their willing- 
ness to break the oath of Eki and in his presence they denounced 
the Eki.^^ It was observed by the authorities that the tribals gave 
up the Eki movement tactically and the possibilities of renewal of 
this movement existed there. The officials and Chief Minister 
suggested to the ruler of Sirohi State to grant some concessions 
to the tribals so that final peace could be achieved. On 23rd May 
1922 the Maharao of Sirohi announced the following 
concessions.20 

(1) General pardon was given to the agitators. 

(2) People whose houses were burnt were exempted from the 
State demand for the current crop and small arrears of 
rainy crop were remitted. 

(3) Permission was granted for bringing grass and wood from 
the forest for re-erecting huts. 

(4) The State revenue was converted in the case of villages 
of Bhula and Navabs etc., from l/6th of the crop to Rs. 8/- 
per plough and in the case of Valoria, etc., from l/7th o 
the crop to Rs. 7/- per plough. 

(5) The State revenue of the rain crop was not to be realised 
from the minor sons of the persons who were killed m 
action until they grew up and were able to cultivate for 
themselves. 

(6) Old widows having no substantial means of support and 
who cultivated small pieces of land by begging support 
from others were exempted from payment of revenue. 

(7) Cultivators having hired ploughs were to pay revenue -at 
half the rate. 

(8) Separate Sukhri lag on the rain crop was discountinued. 

(9) Compulsion of giving goats and Dasehra Lag was done 
away with in favour of voluntary presentation of a liegoat 
per village. 



Bhil-Movemert — Moti Lai Tejawat 


115 


(10) The office of Patwari was abolished in these villages due to 
the conversion of revenue into cash. 

The tax on bringing wood on head from outside the terri- 
tory was abolished. 

Restriction on bringing pieces of wood from the forest for 
the purpose of making ploughs was abolished. 

The cultivators were permitted to pay the state share of the 
summer crop as hitherto, and also to pay the state share 
of the winter crop if they cultivated the same. 

A committees of 4 persons comprising one Bhil, one 
Garassia, one Mahajan and one Brahimin was appointed 
to look into the cases of stolen cattle. 

A special procedure involving maintenance of written 
record on prescribed format and counter checking by the 
Tehsildar was to be laid down to stop the harrassment of 
the cultivators on false charges. 

The above concessions given to the military affected area 
were also extended to other parts of the State where tribals 
inhabited in large numbers. The concessions given were not of 
much value. The issues of begar, lag-bag. Forest rule were not 
even touched under these concessions. In the beginning of 1923 
Moti Lai Tejawat again tried to organise the Eki to continue 
the agitation but due to the persuation and efforts of the State 
officials the agitation could not be renewed. In 1927 a final 
agreement was concluded between the head Panchas of Bhils and 
Garassias and State officials. The tribal movement of Sirohi came 
to end finally in 1929 when Tejawat was arrested. 

le Bhil and Garassias of Udaipur and Sirohi States 
remained turbulent during 1921-23 under the leadership of 
Motilal Tejawat. The States and Jagirdars inflicted all sorts of 
tyranny upon the ignorant tribal men. A series of military attacks 
were let loose. After January 1924 Tejawat went underground 
as the States concerned 'announced rewards for his arrest. It was 
the view of the authorities that without rotmding up Tejawat the 
tribal movement could not be put down. Moti Lai Tejawat was 
arrested by the police of Idar State on 3rd June, 1929 at a 
village Khed Brahma.21 He was handed over to Udaipur State 



( 11 ) 

( 12 ) 

(13) 

(14) 

(15) 



116 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


where criminal proceedings were started against him. No final 
decision could be made in this case and upto 1936 he remained 
in jail. He was released on 23rd April, 1936 and he gave an 
undertaking that he would not do any agitational work and would 
not leave Udaipur without permission.22 Udaipur State sanctioned 
a monthly allowance of Rs. 30 to him.83 Again he was arrested 
in 1945 on violating the undertaking when he tried to enter 
the Bhumat area and was released in February, 1947. 

The tribal movement under the leadership of Moti Lai 
Tejawat got prominence due to its nature. The movement began 
under the influence of the Non-Go-operation Movement but it 
was more radical in comparison with it. The tribal movement 
was not owned by the Indian National Congress due to its class 
character. This movement could not be integrated in the 
National movement, but it strengthened the national cause. The 
movement awakened the ignorant tribe men to break their age- 
old bondage. Through these movements they stepped into 
modern age. These movements proved severe attacks on the 
feudal system of Rajasthan and paved the way for social develop- 
ment. These also prepared the ground for freedom movement 
in Rajasthan and when the Prajamandal in various states came 
into being the awakened tribe men joined these organisation. 


REFERENCES 

1. National Archives of India, New Delhi. Foreign and Poli- 
tical Deptt. File No. 428-P {Secret) of 1923. 

2. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., p. 197. 

3. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur Residency {Jagir 
Records) File No. 91, Pad No. 65. , 

4. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Political 
Deptt., File No. 428-P (Secret) 1923. 

5. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur Residency, {Jagir 
Records) File No. 91, Pad No. 65. 



Bhil-Movement — Moti Lai Tejawaf 


ill 


6. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Political 
Deptt , File No. 428 P, (Secret), 1923. 

7. Ibid. 

8. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Udaipur Residency (Jagii 
Records) File No. 87, Pad No. 65. 

9. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Political 
Deptt., File No. 428-P (Secret), 1923. 

10. Ibid. 

11. S. S. Saxena and P. Sharma, Op. Cit., pp. 199-200. 

12. Ibid. 

13. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Poli- 
tical Deptt., File No. 428-P (Secret), 1923. 

14. R. N. Ghoudhary, Op. Cit., pp. 71-72. 

15. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Poli- 
tical Deptt., File No. 428-P (Secret), 1923. 

16. Ibid. 

17. R. N. Ghoudhary, Op. Cit , pp 71-73. 

18 Ibid., p. 74. 

19. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign &. Political 
Deptt., File No. 428-P ^Secret) 1923. 

20. Ibid 

21. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Poli- 
tical Deptt., Pile No. 276-P, 1929. 

22. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner. Udaipur Confidential 
Records File No. 40, Pad No. 4. 

Ibid. 


23 



6 


PEASANT AGITATIONS IN THE 
JAIPUR STATE 


The peasants of Jaipur State lived in a state of destitution and 
penury under an extremely oppressive feudal system. The degra- 
ding condition of peasants led to unrest among them. This unrest 
was more widespread among the peasants of Jagir areas than in the 
Khalsa. The Shekhawati Kisan Andolan which started in 1921 in 
the Shekhawati area of Sikar and Jhunjhunu continued during the 
mid and late thirties. Another movement of importance was of 
Bairwas (Ghamars) of Thikana Uniara which lasted from 1946 to 
1949. After 1938 some minor stray movements of peasants arose 
in the Nizamats of Hindaun and Torawati xmder the leadership of 
Jaipur Raj Praja Mandal. 

Causes of the Peasant Agitation 

Insecurity of land tenures was one of the main causes of the 
peasant unrest. In Jagir areas there were no definite rules and 
regulations for tilling the land by peasants. The rates of land 
revenue were not levied evenly during the period of the tenure, 
and enhancement could be made at any timc.l The peasants 
always feared that they could be ejected at any time from their 
holdings.2 Further, due to insecurity of land tenure peasants were 
not willing to make any permanent improvement in their holdings 
for raising the productivity of their land. They were of the view 
that their economic condition was worsening day by day due to 
the exploitative land revenue system. Under this system, they had 
no margin of profit for fulfilling their economic and social needs. 
There was no fixed land revenue and the thikams imposed any 



119 


Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 

amount of rent according to their whims 3 Those who are hungry 
must cry for bread, and those who are wronged must call for 
justice. This is an elemental truth which cannot fail to assert and 
reassert itself so long as hunger and injustice continue to exist. 
The poor cultivators often paid large sums of land revenue by 
pawning their sons and daughters to money-lenders or selling their 
sons to Dadupanthi SadhusA The most prevalent systems of assess- 
ment were Kuntetxid Latara under which a rough estimate of pro- 
duce was made. The land revenue assessed under these systems 
was always high and sometimes it could not be met even with the 
whole produce.lt was popularly known as Lutera (Robbing system) 
among the peasants. 

State Records are full of instances of heavy land revenue 
assessment of peasants. Thus in the case of village Sisiyan^ of 
Nizamat Shekhawati one Harlal was assessed by the Thikanedar on 
an estimated produce of 75 maunds, whereas the Nizant estimated 
the produce to be only 30 maunds, which yielded a sum of 
Rs. 47/12/- only when its rent was assessed to be Rs. 56/l2/- 

which means that the cultivator had to pay from his own pocket 

Rs. 9/- in addition to giving the whole of the produce of the 
land— the result of his whole year’s toll. The fluctuations in the 
rate of land revenue were ruinous for the peasants who favoured 
the introduction of a fixed rate of land revenue according to the 
nature of soil and produce. To free them from the fear of eject- 
ment and to raise the productivity of land the peasants demande 
security of tenure through recognition of their hereditary tenancy 
rights^ such as Biswadari rights.’ No survey and settlement was 
carried out by the State and thikanas to find out the value of land. 
Even at places where the survey and settlement work had begun, 
it was not conducted properly. The peasant’s demand for settle- 
ment was acceded to but by reducing the length of the /an6 
(chain for land measurement), the authorities gave them with one 
hand and took it away with the othcr.This added fuel to the fire of 
agitation. The thikanas of Shekhawati had reduced the length of 
the chain to 82-| feet as compared to the State chain of 165 feet. 3 
The vagueness of land revenue rules allowing exorbitant rents to 
be charged by thikanadars naturally created unrest among the 
peasants and provoked them to rise against the maladministration 
of the Jagirs and 



120 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


In case of scarcity of rain, bad harvest and famine no re- 
mission was allowed in land revenue, and whenever any remission 
was allowed, it used to be realised in full with interest in the next 
year.9 The remission of revenue was always an issue of dispute 
between the thikanas and the peasantry. In normal years, the 
Jagirdars collected these arreais which was very burdensome to 
the peasantry. 

In most of the wells of Shekhawati water was very deep and 
irrigation was scarcely possible. But all land around the well was 
classified as irrigated {chain) land for the purpose of collecting the 
revenue and at the time of settlement it was mentioned as irrigated 
land irrespective of the fact whether the well could irrigate or 
not.io 


The peasants were not allowed to use natural products 
grown on their holdings without paying taxes for them It may be 
recalled here that Sehkhawati was a one-crop area where peasants 
kept cattle as a substitute to meet their needs. They faced a great 
scarcity of fodder due to restrictions imposed on the use of fodder 
trees and grass. They could not cut the tree even for their agri- 
cultural implements.il All the pasture land or waste land was 
under the possession of the Jagirdars,, and the peasants were pro- 
vided no place where they could graze their cattle.i2 

There were one or more ponds {Jo' ras) in every' village. A 
Jhora was a sort of depressed soil where water accumulated during 
rains and after drying up grass or other kinds of fodder cropped 
up there for the cattle. l^In almost all cases, these plots were left un- 
cultivated by the Jagirdars and thikanas as a sort of Pun or dedica- 
tion for cattle grazing and drinking. In the beginning these ponds 
were the common property of the village and were free for grazing 
cattle. But after a certain time the Jagirdars started collecting 
grazing and drinking tax from the owners of cattle who used these 
ponds.l^ This handicapped the peasants in maintaining cattle as 
pasture land could not be used by them without paying the tax. 
Under these circumstances they demanded that G^iichara lands 
(grazing land) should be made common to all and free access to 
these lands must be given to all those who had a right to use 

them.iS 



Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 


121 


Receipts for payment of land revenue were not issued to 
the peasants and sometimes it was recovered twice.16 Without a 
proper receipt, the peasants were unable to show their possession 
on land and when the land settlement started they feared that 
their holdings would not be entered in their khatas and khataunis. 

In addition to rent the cultivators had to pay a large num- 
ber of cesses (lag-bags') including cesses to meet the expenses of the 
landlords’ (Jagirdars) marriage, guests, tours, pleasure trips, 
shooting excursion, etc.^'^ Besides, the lag-bags such as Pancharai, 
KIwntabandi, Chelli-Ginti, Bhains Ginti. etc., were realised from the 
owners of cattle ’ 8 Generally these lag-bags were more than 
double of the land revenue. These were also realised from the 
cultivators, on the construction of house or court-yards, on the 
occassion of marriages of their sons and daughters, on Nuktas 
(death feast), etc. During the peasant agitation the demand for 
abolition of these lag-bags was one of the prominent demands. In 
the bulletin of Sliekhawati Kisan Jat Panchayat, the Secretary 
wrote in July 1939 that the ''lag-bags" are the main cause of 
their ruin. These are increasing constantly like the of Sursa 
Demon. They (cesses) are sucking their blood”. 

Levying of Zakat (custom duty) was also among the promi- 
nent causes of peasant unrest. There were two types of customs 
duties, viz,, internal and external. Internal customs duty w'as charged 
on the goods or articles going from one village to another within a 
Jagir area, 19 while external customs duty was charged on goods or 
articles going from one thikana to another and from Jaipur terri- 
tory to the other States. Obviously, there were numerous layers 
of customs duties imposed upon the cultivators. These octroi duties 
were charged in every thikana and were levied by the State as 
well.20 During the time of famines and scarcities, these customs 
duties created obstacles for the peasants in importing grain and 
fodder. There existed a system of issuing the Pola Khana (customs 
duty exemption certificate) to cultivators. This system gave rise 
to corruption as the employees of the customs depai tment gene- 
rally did not issue Pola Khanna without gratification. 2lThe ihikanas 
and Jagirs also charged customs duties on the goods or articles on 
which the State did not levy any charge.22 The method of reali- 
sing these duties was very harsh and inhuman. About such methods 



122 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


a leaflet entitled, '‘Thikana Nawalgarh Ki Nadirshahi” mentioned 
that :23 

“The passengers at the railway station are harrassed 
to such an extent that they start weeping. Clothes 
worn on their body and other goods were checked 
and are thrown out here and there and after that the 
custom officials fix the duty according to their will. 

The clothes of women are searched in a humiliating 
manner.” 

These customs duties obviously had also created obstacles 
for the peasants in importing improved seeds, fertilisers, imple- 
ments, livestock, etc., and also prevented them from selling their 
agricultural produce, ghee, etc., outside the village or the province 
in a bigger market where they could fetch fair prices. The 
customs duty and lag-bags disrupted the rural economy and soci^ 
life and created unrest among the cultivators. 

Begar (forced labour) was quite widespread in the State. 
Not only the state authorities, but every Jagirdar, thikanedar and 
Bardar took begar free from the poor cultivator for as many days 
as they liked. All the castes except the Rajputs, Kaimkhanis and 
Brahmins were compelled to do begarM The nature of begar was 
very actute in non-Khalsa {Thikanas and Jagirs) areas of the State. 
In thikanas the begar continued to be exacted even after its pro- 
hibition by the Darbar.^^ The Principal begars were as fdllows . 
Roti Khilai ki begar, Hal begar (an impost on each cultivator for 
ploughing the Jagirdar’s land free of cost), Lasla begar (an impost 
on cultivators for reaping the crop of Jagirdar), Korad begar (body 
labour free of charge for carrying the Jagirdar’s crops to his store), 
Dhulai begar (when the Jagirdars had to send some articles outside 
or get certain things from elsewhere, he ordered one camel from 
each house, who did not own camels had to pay a cash penalty), 
Chakar begar (when Jagirdar needed servants), etc. These begars 
were imposed upon the cultivators according to their castes. The 
cultivators of low castes such as Ghamars, Rcgar, Bairwa, Dhanka, 
etc., had to perform more begar than cultivators of high castes. 
Due to the imposition of begar the peasants could not do their own 
work timely and efficiently. The peasants grudgingly and under 
I pressure performed these various types of begars and when the) 



Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 


123 


could not bear the burden any more they protested and rose 
against this unjust and oppressive system of forced labour. 

Maltreatment and social discrimination against cultivators 
by Jagirdars also added to the cause of peasant agitation in the 
State. There was a general complaint among the Jat cultivators 
against the Jagirdars for depriving them of many social privileges. 
They were not allowed to ride on horse and elephant. 27 Jat stu- 
dents could not get schoIarship,28 whereas scholarships were sanc- 
tioned to Rajput cultivators. Educated Jats were not given higher 
posts in the services of the State and Jagirs 29 Caste discrimination 
was practised in giving employment in the lower services of the 
State and thikanas such as police, military, revenue, etc. Hence, 
the Jats openly demanded that “they may be allowed to enjoy the 
same social status and other privileges which are enjoyed by the 
Rajputs”. If the Jats performed any social ceremony like the 
Rajputs they were maltreated by the Jagirdars. The Jagirdars 
also did not accord fair treatment to Jat cultivators in the matter 
of land revenue and its coHection.so This social degradation of 
the Jats created unrest among them to an incalculable extent. 
Before tracing the history of the Jat cultivators’ agitation in 
Shekhawati, it may be noted that the total population of the Jats in 
Jaipur State (according to the Census of 1931)was 3,13,609(1,70,306 
males and 1,34.303 females). The population of the whole State 
being 26, 3 1,775, the Jats constituted 11.91% or approximately l/8th 
of the total population. They easily headed the list in numerical 
strength and formed the principal agriculturist class in the State. 
They were predominant in the whole of the western division of the 
State, the largest numbers being in the Nizamat Shekhawati, 
Thikana Sikar, Nizamat Torawati and Nizamat Sambhar, Hence in 
the peasant movement of Shekhawati and in the whole of the State, 
in fact, the Jats were dominant. They did not tolerate any longer 
their exploitation by the Jagirdars. 

Thikanadars and Jagirdars did not devote their attention to 
the welfare of the peasant masses. They did not spend anything 
on the education and medical care of the cultivators and if the 
cultivators started schools the thikana closed them down.31 
The average annual income of Sikar chiefship in 1925 was 
Rs. 5,50,000/- (land revenue Rs. 4,00,000 and other income 



124 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


Rs. 150,000). But the annual expenditure on public welfare was 
only Rs 35,000 (public health 20,000 and education I5,000).32 

During the famine period proper relief measures were not 
taken by these thikanedars and Jagirdars. The cultivators were 
feeling immediate necessity of agricultural reforms, extension 
of (Education, facilities for medical care and rural uplift, but their 
feudal rulers did not provide facilities for any of these, which 
created unrest among the former. In fact, the Thakurs thought 
that they were not for the masses, but masses were meant to serve 
them. The licentiousness of Jagirdars and their extravagance was 
responsible for their indifference to the welfare of the peasants. 
They squandered their time and energy on Sura (wine) and 
Sundari (women). 

Atrocities on cultivators by Jagirdars were intolerable, 
which created hatred among the former against the latter. In the 
words of M.K. Gandhi, “But so far as their people are concerned, 
the princes have unlimited control over them. They can imprison 
them at will, and even put them to death”. 33 The Jagirdars exer- 
cised considerable executive and judiciary powers in their Jagirs 
while the State could not exercise any control on thero.34 There 
was no well-defined law to provide justice to the cultivators If 
cultivators were unable to pay the dues (revenue, lag-bag, begar, 
etc.), they were put into the Kath (stocks) to torture them.35 
Besides, the cultivators were hung from the trees, brutally beaten 
and tortured in various inhuman ways. 33 For in.stance the cultiva- 
tors complained against the Thikana Sikar to the Jaipur State 
authorities that. 37 

“The Thikana is realising taxes at exorbitant rates by force, 
e g. they hang us on the trees, beat us and do all sorts of tyranny. 
Having been tired of such a maltreatment we (about 400 cultiva- 
tors) tried to run away from Sikar last night and are now here on 
deputation before you to represent our grievances. We request 
you to take very early steps to restore normal conditions in Sikar 
and thus save us from the hardship of having to desert our present 
homes. About 500 houses (sic) have already deserted their homes 
and gone towards the Bikaner and Jodhpur States” 

These atrocities of Jagirdars were rightly pointed out by 
H.D. Malaviya :38 



Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 


125 


“The backwardness of the State is to be attributed 

mainly to the existence of the Jagirdari system and 

the rule of Native Princes, who cared only for their 
pleasure pursuits and never gave any attention what- 
soever to the care and well-being of their subjects as 
a matter of fact an exact replica of the worst features 
of the middle ages continued in Rajasthan right upto 
the middle of the 20th century. And even now, the 
feudal Jagirdars, incensed at the abolition of their 
heartless and inhuman exploitation, did their worst 
to defeat the implementation of the abolition legisla- 
tion and took recourse to the most lawless activities 
and, like the barbarians of the middle ages, even 
burnt and pillaged the villages....There have been, 
for example, cases when women have been burnt 
alive, when villages have been razed to the ground, 

when trigger-happy Jagirdars have freely used their 

guns to kill the Kisans”. 

Peasants Agitations 

The seeds of the peasant movement had existed since long 
under the economic, social and political system prevalent in 
State. The Non-Cooperation Movement of 1920 led by the n lan 
National Congress had created consciousness among the masses a 
over India I'or fighting against all forms of oppression by the tate 
authorities. The first mass movement in the Shekhawati region o^ 
Jaipur State was launched by Chirawa Sewa Samiti in . 
This society was originally formed for social work and was ren er 
ing various services during the periods of famine and scarcity. 
The Chirawa Sewa Samiti in its early stage was the organ o le 
bourgeoisie for penetrating among the rural masses throug i 
work during the hard days of their suffering. It may be recalled 
that the moneyed class had no political and civil rights in Jaipur 
State. To fight against the feudal oppression they started organi 
sing the rural masses through this society. The branches o t is 
society existed in several parts of Shekhawati. The Dar ar was 
not taking any interest in removing the grievances of the peop e 
3nd showed no inclination to redress their wrongs. The peop c 
were discontented and fell an easy prey to the inducements of the 



126 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


Sewa Samiti. In the montli of September 1921, the iSeuw i’crm/Vi 
started a movement for wearing Swadeshi cloth and for boycotting 
foreign cloth, to close down the liquor shops and defy the Darbar's 
ordcr.'JO Soon after the beginning of this movement, the Raja of 
Khetri arrested the volunteers of the Sewa Samiti. The matter 
did not rest there. The Raja of Khetri wished to .strike terror into 
the public mind and bounded several leading persons of Chirawa 
town for not joining the The arrested persons ere trea- 

ted most inhumanly. They were forced to walk thirty miles on 
foot from Chiiawa to Kheti i and whipped on the way. They 
were denied drinking water all along the way and not permitted 
to attend the call of nature. 'll The arrested persons were retained 
in the loek-up illegally without any charge or trial for a fortnight. 
They were released through the intervention and protest of the 
Marwari Traders’ Association of Calcutta and Bombay.^2 

In fact, this movement w'as not an agrarian movement, 
though it had created consciousness among the peasant masses to 
fight against the atrocities and exploitation of the State and 
Jagirdars. The Jat agitation in 1921 took the real shape of a 
peasant movement after the agitation of Chirawa Sewa Samiti. The 
moneyed class had started extending financial assistance to the 
Jat movement in all respects since 1921.^3 

In 1923 signs of serious discontent among the Jat and other 
cultivators of the Sikar thikana appeared and hundreds of cultiva- 
tors came to Jaipur on several occassions to repicscnt their 
grievances to the Darbar and to tlic Rcsident.44 They alleged 
that there was no authorised chain of measurement for cultivated 
land, nor proper land records were maintained, nor there was any 
fixed demand for land revenue uhich was being continually 
enhanced. They stated that in addition to the land revenue they 
were called upon to pay a large number of unauthorised taxes 
(lag-bags) and begar and were put in stocks (Kath) and otherwise 
tortured if they expressed their inability to pay and were also 
forcibly evicted from their holdings.^5 Xhe Darbar did not take 
a serious note of these grievances. It advised the cultivators to 
present their grievances to the Rao Raja of Sikar as the Darbar 
felt sure that they would be redressed by him. When, however, 
the complaints continued to reach the Daibar, R.I. Glancy (a 
British Officer) was sent to the Rao Raja, who promised to look 



Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 


127 


into the peasants’ grievances and not to raise the rent. The Rao 
Raja also promised to pay the expenses incurred by the peasants 
on their journey from Sikar to Jaipur.46 The cultivators, however, 
again marched to Jaipur after some time, complaining to the 
Darbar that the thikana had broken the agreement which was 
made with Glancy’s approval.^? Matters, however, did not 
improve and the agitation became widespread. In the, meantime, 
Ram Narain Ghaudhri, Editor of the Tarun Rajasthan, Ajmer, a 
political agitator, entered Sikar and worked among the poor and 
illiterate cultivators there in order to create a strong agitation 
similar to that which had taken place at Bijolia in Mewar.^8 He 
also brought the condition of these peasants to the notice of the 
people of England by establishing contacts with extremist politi- 
cians there who had been induced not only to publish articles in 
the Daily Herald but also raised the question about the condition 
of the cultivators of Sikar in the House of Commons in May 
1925.49 This uproar led the Secretary of State for India in London 
to inquire into the conditions of the peasants of Sikar and to advise 
the Rao Raja to carry out a survey and to effect a regular settle- 
ment. However, the Rao Raja did not act accordingly.^O The 
year 1925 is an important year in the peasant movement in 
Shekhawati. In October 1925, the first meeting of the Jat Sabha 
was held in Bagar (Shekhawati).5i In this meeting they con- 
cluded that their depressed social condition was due to their 
deplorable economic condition and they in this meeting resolved to 
chalk out a programme to fight against their social and economic 
exploitation by the State and Jagirdars. 

Later in December 1925, a movement arose in the thikanas 
of Khetri, Mandawa, Dundlod, Bisau and Nawalgarh. This 
movement was launched by the Shekhawati Jat Sabha. The culti- 
vators had derived encouragement from the Jat meeting at Pushkar 
in 1925. The Jat leaders started moving about in the villages of 
Shekhawati and openly preached disobedence and non-pay- 
ment of rents to the thikanas. First of all, the Jat cultivators 
belonging to the thikana Mandawa approached the Nazim of 
Jhunjhunu and complained that despite the current bad year the 
Thakur was pressing them hard to pay more rent for the land under 
their cultivation. In the meantime the Jat cultivators of the whole of 



128 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


the Shckhawali area united and adopted a firm attitude against the 
Thakurs and decided for the non-payment of rents to the thikanas.^^ 

The agitations which started in 1925 in Si kar and other 
thikanas of Shekhawati continued to gain strength. The State and 
thikanadars were not sympathetic to the demands of cultiva- 
tors and started supressing the movement cruelly through their 
local agents and police force. Further, they started humiliating 
thejat cultivators socially. These repressive measures could not 
suppress the movement because the peasants were determined to 
fight against the age-old exploitative policy of the feudal lords. 
Without achieving reforms in the prevalent economic system, the 
withdrawal of movement was quite impossible. 

On the occassion of the festival of Basant Panchami in 1932 
a splendid function ofjat Mahasabha was held in Jhunjhunu.54 
This function was attended by 60 thousand men and encouraged 
the Jat cultivators to carry their movement further. To infuse a 
sense of unity among them in a meeting at Palthana in September 
1933 the Jat cultivators resolved to hold a Mahayagya in Sikar. 
With this object they opened a office at Sikar and proceeded to 
make preparations without obtaining the permission of the 
thikana.t>t> It was only after great pursuation by the thikana 
authorities that they obtained permission to organise this 
ceremony. 

The Jats also applied to the Rao Raja for the loan of an 
elephant for taking their President in procession but he refused to 
accede to this request.^^ This insult of the Jats further embittered 
their relations with the thikana. The speeches delivered at the Maha- 
yagya and its allied functions under the cloak of social reform 
created class hatred and sharpened the peasant movement. To 
put a stop to this movement the thikana served a notice to Ghand- 
rabhan, the Jat Sabha’s Secretary under section 144 G. P. G. to 
leave the Sikar territory within 16 hours. Ghandrabhan disobeyed 
the order and was arrested and prosecuted under Section 177 
J. P. G. and convicted by the Faujdar to 6 weeks simple imprison- 
ment with a fine of Rs. 51/-.57 

The Jats vehemently protested against this high handed- 
ness of the Rao Raja of Sikar and as an expression of their resent- 
ment announced the no-rent campaign. In February 1934 they 



129 


Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 

came to Jaipur in hundreds and presented the following Charter 
of their demands to the Darbar ;S8 

1. That land rent may be fixed permanently according to the 
quality of land and climate, etc. 

2. That in cases of extreme depression or adverse fluctuation 
of market-rates of commodities or decrease in produce due 
to climatic reasons or droughts, fixed rent too in proportion 
of loss to crop or its lace value may be ordained to be 
remitted. 

3. That levy of all other cesses except land rent may be 
declared illegal. 

4. That Z>egar (forced labour), which is recognised all over 
civilised world as a relic of barbarous age, may totally be 
abolished in all its existing forms. 

5. That punishment of fixing in stocks {hath) also stands today 
conderrined in the eyes of civilised nations, and hence 
should be abolished. 

6. That Village Panchayat may be empowered to decide petty 
cases of their villages themselves. 

7. A fixed proportion of the total income of the thikana, say, 
one-eight part, to be ear-marked as a rule to be spent on 
education of peasants through their Panchayats. 

8. The levying of octroi duty in every thikana besides that 
levied by the State, should be abolished. 

9. All the orders and usages prejudicial to the interest and 
quality of social status of Jats with other communities 
should be quashed. 

10. Jats inay be allowed to enjoy the same social status and 
other privileges which arc enjoyed by Rajputs. 

11. Jats may be given preference and encouragement in the 
services of the thikana. 

12. That if executive powers are to remain wth the thikana, 
then the judiciary powers must be under the direct control 
of the State, as vesting of both these functions in the hands 
of one man is today held against the very principle of 
justice and logic all over the world and also it has proved to 
be an evil practice in our thikana. 



130 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


13. That if due to any reasons the above demand maybe 
deemed difficult to be acceded to, then the thikana may be 
made to administer its affairs with consent of a newly 
constituted and elected Panchayat in which all the com- 
munities inhabiting Sikar Thikana will be represented in 
proportion to their numerical strength. 

14. Master Chandra Bhan Singh (Secretary of Jat Mahasabha) 
may be released unconditionally. 

The Vice-President of the Jaipur State Council assured the 
Jat delegation that their grievances would be looked into. This 
made the Rao Raja discuss the Jat memorandum. As a result of 
this as well as the enquiries made by Capt. A. W. T. Webb, 
Senior Officer, Sikar Estate, the following notification was issued 
in August 1934 announcing the reforms sanctioned by the Rao 
Raja of Sikar with a view to improving the administration of the 
thikana and to ameliorating the condition of its subject 

1. Abolition of Lags — AM lags abolished and Dhuan Bach on 
cultivators. 

2. Application of Jaipur Tenure Rules to Sikar Khalsa land- 
Rules applied to Sikar. 

3. Hindi — All correspondence between the administration 
and the public will be conducted in Hindi. 

4. Internal customs — No customs will be charged in future on 
goods going from one village to another. 

5. Lagan — After St. (Samvat) 1991 (1934 A. D.) Lagan shall be 
fixed for a period and at rates to be decided in consultation 
with the Sikar Jat Panchayat. Classification of lands will 
be made as soon as possible. 

6. The Sikar Jat Panchayat is requested to form a body of 2 
or 3 cultivators from each Tehsil who can act as an advi- 
sory body to the senior officer in matters connected with 
cultivators interest. 

7. Begar (forced labour) — All begar is abolished. 

8. Education — It is to be clearly understood that all srhools, 
scholarship maintained or aided by the Sikar administra- 
tion are open to all castes without distinction of caste or 
creed. 



Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 


131 


9. Gauchara Lands— Gauthai a \andszre common to 

all and free acce's to these land'; must be kept open for all 
who have a right to use them. 

10. Rights of cultivators in alienated lands — As it is most unde- 

sirable that different rates of lagan exist in Sikar, it is 
hereby notified that for the futuje Jagirdars, and 

others shall not levy more in the aggregate from (sic) 
their cultivators than is levied by the Sikar administration 
from their cultivators. Differences of opinion between 
Jagirdars, Badhdars, etc., and other cultivators shall be 
decided by the Revenue Court. 

The use of illegal means of collecting lagan, whether by 
owners of alienated lands or Sikar officials will, if reported 
and proeed, be punished with the greatest severity, and in 
the case of alienated lands render them liable to zapti or 
confiscation. 

11. T/azari (gift) — This is absolutely forbidden. 

12. Medical-Medical facilities for villages will be introduced at 
a very early date. 

The Jats at first refused to accept these reforms and it was 
only with great persuasion and after making further revenue 
concessions that Captain Webb managed their acceptance. 

After this announcement, the revenue demand was fixed 
and notices were issued to cultivators for payment of the rents 
due. The Jats refused payment and assembled in large numbers and 
defied the officials sent to collect the rent. A detachment of 30 Jaipur 
Armed Police was thereupon sent in February 1935 to assist the 
Sikar officials. The mam centre of this no-rent campaign was 
a village m Sangraovat Tehsil, 14 miles from Sikar. With the 
help of the Jaipur Armed Police this movement was crushed by 
the Sikar authorities.60 

As the revenue concessions granted by the Sikar authorities 
weie applicable only to Sikar Khalsa territory the Jats now diver- 
ted their attention to the Rajput Blwmias and other small Jagir- 
dars with the idea of compelling them to grant similar concessions 
and it was only by the intervention of the Sikar Police that serious 
clashes between the Bhomias and the Jats in villages Singhasan 



132 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


and Puri'Badi were averted. The Rajput landlords started suppres- 
sing the peasants through all possible means. 

At Khuri, a village inhabited partly by Jats and paitly by 
Rajputs, a Jat marriage party took out its procession on 22 March, 
1935 through the Rajput portion of village with the bridegroom 
riding a horse. The Rajputs took strong exception to this action 
as being provocative and contrary to custom. Large numbers of 
Jats and Rajputs collected and a clash occurred in which a Jat 
lost his Hfe.61 Senior officer reached Khuri with police to control 
the. situation and ordered the police to /athfc/iarge upon the Jats. 
As a result four persons lost their lives and hundred were injured.62 
This incident further strained Rajput-Jat relations and worsened 
the situation. After this incident the peasants started a definite 
no-rent campaign and the Jats of 15 villages in thikana Sikar 
took an oath to outcaste any Jat who paid revenue to the thikana 
and to boycott socially the Rajputs as well as persons of other 
communities who sided with them.63 

In April 1935, the Jat peasants attacked the Revenue offici- 
als of thikana Sikar, who were sent to village Kudan with police 
force to collect land revenues.64 The police opened fire on the 
Jat cultivators as a result of which 4 Jat peasants were killed, 
14 injured and about 175 were arrested. The authorities took all 
the repressive measures to crush the movement. The local Jat 
Panchayat was declared unlawful. The President and Secretary 
of the Rajputana Jat Sabha and two workers of the Jat Mahasabha 
were externed. 

All the schools started by the Siksha Mandal of Shekhawati 
or by Jats themselves, were closed compulsorily. The masters 
incharge of these schools were in many cases arrested. The 
school building at Palthana was razed to the ground. Arrears of 
land revenue amounting in some cases 3 to 5 thousand rupees 
were realized from a single individual or selected individuals.' In 
addition to these arrears, fines were imposed for default and 
realized by force. It is interesting to note that arrears due from 
even jon-Jats were realized from Jats alone. Their property was 
.seized and sold for 25 or 30 per cent of its real value. 

After arrears had been realized, the floors of houses were 
dug-up in 3 villages to recover hidden cash and ornaments. No 



Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 


133 


forraalitics usually attendant upon a process of attachment or sale 
were observed anywhere. A good deal of movable property was 
reported to have been looted and 4 villages became deserted as 
their inhabitants left their homes in fear of harassment. As a 
result of this the Jat peasants in very affluent circumstances were 
turned into paupers and several Jats of leading p isitions began 
to spend their days in exile out of fear of oppression at the hands 
of Sikar officials.®^ 

The defiance of the Jat peasants of village Kudan compel- 
led Sikar thikana to start a regular survey and settlement of land 
and to accept some of the peasants’ demands. To en.sure the 
success of these steps and improve the administration of Sikar 
thikana, the Rao Raja agreed to invest Captain Webb. Senior 
Officer, Sikar with special powers in the administration of the 
thikanafi^ The Jat peasants were not fully satisfied with these 
measures and they started reorganizing the peasants against the 
thikana. 

Meanwhile, the beginning of the peasant movement in 
other parts of Shekhawati strengthened the movement at Sikar. 
It widened the area of the peasant movement. In 1934, a 
movement was started by the Jat Kisan Panchayat in the thikanas 
of Shekhawati, viz., Khetri, Dundlod, Nawalgarh, Mandawa, 
Biaso, Surajgarh, Herwas, Ismailpur, Jakhara, Mandrela, Malsisar, 
Khandela, Alsisar, Patan, etc. In March 1934, they launched 
a no-rent campaign in these thikanas. With the launching of this 
movement the Jagirdars started attacking the peasants through their 
hirelings. It was on the evening of 16th May 1 934 when almost 
all the men-folk of the village Hanumanpura had gone out to 
attend various marriage parties, Thakur Kalyan Singh of thikana 
Herwa with his men came to the village on camels and first 
set fire to the courtyard of Chowdhari Govind Ram jat. The 
fire spread with speed and burnt to ashes 33 houses before 
it could be extinguished. It caused a loss of property of 
several thousand rupees, injured several children, burnt to death 
two cows and scorched four green trees. In addition, valuable 
papers, pattas, receipts and certified copies and documentary 
evidence of land rights were burnt.G^ Similarly the thikanadar of 
Dundlod intimidated the peasants of the Jaisinghpura village. On 
21st June 1934, Ishwar Singh, brother of Thakur Hamath Singh 



134 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


of Dundlod along with his men attacked the cultivators of Jaisingh- 
pura armed with lathis, sharp weapons and guns while they were 
walking in their fields. In this incident four persons were killed 
and 23 were badly injured. Such a policy of brutal intimidation 
and terror resorted to by the thikanadars of Shekhawati led the 
cultivators to unite and protest against the thikanas.^^ 

The Shekhawati Jat Kisan Panchayat presented a memo- 
randum to the Vice-President of the Council of the State on 9th 
October, 1934 mentioning their following specific grievances 
against the thikanas 

1. The thikanas eject cultivators on the slightest excuse. 

2. The thikanas have been continually enhancing rents with 
the result that rents have increased by nearly 100 per cent 
or more during the past 20 years 

3. The unit of measurement has been gradually diminishing 
and now it is a cotton rope of about 82-| ft. as compared 
with the State iron chain of 165 ft. 

4. Although the State has abolished hegar (forced labour), it 
is still exacted by the thikanas in one form or the other. 

5. In addition to rent the cultivators have to pay a very large 
number of cesses {lag-bag) including cesses to meet the 
expense of the landlords marriage, guests, tours, pleasure 
trips, shooting excursion, etc. 

6. No remission at all is given and whatever the condition of 
the crop, or of the tenant, he has to discharge this liability 
in full. 

7. If they are unable to pay, they are put into the Koth 
(stocks), although these have been abolished in the State 
and subjected to all sorts of torture. 

8. Zakat, or customs duty, is levied on all imports including 
those exempted under the Customs Tariff of the State. 

9. Receipts for payment of land revenue etc. are not issued. 

10. The Panchpana thikanas arc exempt from cour t fees, and 
their private Vakils conduct cases against cultivators. 

11. Mo/Vonn (Registration fee) is now charged from cultivators 
also instead of being confined to Mahajans, etc. 



Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 


135 


] 2. One or two favourites of the thikanas enjoy the possession of 
pastures while the cultivator has no place in which to graze 
his cattle, he can not even use the leaves of the trees grow- 
ing on his holding, without paying for them. 

13. The landlords (Jagirdars) do not spend anything on the 
education or medical relief of the tenants and if cultivators 
start schools, they are closed down by the thikanas. 

The Vice-President did not receive tlTe deputation sympa- 
thetically. He informed the Jat delegation that the Darbar 
would depute a Revenue Officer to enquire into the matter. Mean- 
while, the peasants were warned to refrain from holding meetings 
and were instructed that they must on no account refuse to pay the 
ordinary demands of revenue, etc., asked by their landlords.’^O 
The cultivators returned depressed and with a feeling of anger 
against the State. They consequently, started refusing to pay any 
dues to the Jagirdars. On the demand of Jaipur State the Nazim 
of Shekhawati submitted a report on the general situation of 
Shekhawati after making a tour of the area. The Nazim enum- 
erated in detail the grievances of the cultivators, which were 
similar to those mentioned in their memorial to the Darbar. He 
suggested that the thikanas should be ordered to fix rents in accor- 
dance with the produce and the market rates. As regards the 
cultivators, he suggested that the Jat leaders should be asked to 
use their influence in persuading the tenants to pay the ordinary 
revenue demand.'^l But the State failed to make any settlement 
between the tenants landlords. 

In the year 1936, the peasants started depositing their 
levcnue dues in the Nizamat because there were differences 
between the cultivators and the thikanedars.’^^ In the same year, 
the work of survey and settlement started, which normalised the 
situation in the area. 

In 1938, the Jaipur Rajya Praja Mandal movement was 
reorganised and its first conference was held at Jaipur. This 
weakened the peasant movement in Shekhawati (Sikar and other 
thikanas) as many of the prominent leaders of the Kisan movement 
joined the Praja Mandal. Of Course, the Praja Mandal was also 
demandin' the redressal of the grievances of cultivators, but its" 



136 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


main demand was to form a responsible government in the State. 
The inclusion of the demand of the cultivators was aimed more at 
involving the rural masses in Praja Mandal than securing them 
real relief. 

The Shekhawati Jat Kisan Panchayat did not merge in the 
Praja Mandal and retained its separate identity till 1949. After 
1938 the Shekhawati Jat Kisan Panchayat voiced the grievances of 
cultivators through leaflets, memorandums and its paper Panchayat 
Patrika But no militant mass movements as were launched 
previously could be started after 1938. The cultivators were also 
convinced that their grievances could not be removed until the 
responsible government was formed in the State. 

In 1939, in the Nizamats of Hindaun and Torawati some 
minor peasant movements arose in the Khalsa area under the 
leadership of Praja Mandal activists. Their main demand was 
remission of land revenue due to the occurrence offamine.73 
These movements did not last long because their leaders were not 
from the peasant communities, but were mainly from the urban 
areas. 

Bairwa (Ghamar) uprising in thikana Uniara was also a 
result of caste discrimination. Generally, this low caste was a 
class of agricultural labourers. In thikana Uniara land was not 
rented out to them and if somehow they managed to obtain land 
they were ejected by the Rao Raja.74 They were not allowed to 
wear silver and gold ornaments, nor good fine clothes, and were 
forced to give begar. They were also not allowed to live in pacca 
houses.'^^ 

In 1946, a movement of Bairwa cultivators was launched 
by All India State People Bairwa Mahasabha in the Uniara thikana 
of Jaipur State. In December 1946 Bairwa cultivators were ejected 
by Rao Raja of Uniara from their holdings and compelled to carry 
the dead animals. ^6 All India State People Bairwa Mahasabha' s 
representatives saw the Prime Minister of Jaipur State to represent 
the grievances of their community. Their demands were to stop 
the thikana’s atrocities upon their community and to secure their 
rights in land cultivated by them. But nothing was done by the 
State to meet the demands of the Bairwas who continued their 
movement till 1949. 



Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 


137 


The peasant agitations in Jaipur State were the outcome 
of the prevalent economic system which condemned peasants to a 
life full of suflering and drudgery. These agitations took place 
mainly in the Jagir (non-Khalsa) areas where no definite rules 
existed for tilling the land by peasants In the region of Shekha- 
wati (Sikar and other petty thikanas) a peasant movement which 
arose in 1921 continued till 1949. During this period peasants were 
harassed by the Jagirdars through their hirelings, caste brethern 
and the police. However, as a result of these movements the 
peasants had partly gained their social and economic rights by 
1949. The Praja Mandal movement which was reorganised in 1938 
weakened the peasant movement as the prominent leaders of the 
Kisan movement associated themselves with Praja Mandal move- 
ment. Some minor peasant movements which arose in Jaipur 
State under the leadership of Praja Mandal in 1939 were not of 
much importance and ended in a short time. This important 
movement which was launched by the All India State People 
Bairwa Mahasabha in 1946 continued till 1949 All these move- 
ments had created consciousness among the rural masses about 
their rights and grievances and to some extent helped in ameliora- 
ting their socio-eonocomie conditions. 


REFERENCES 

1. In most cases, the rate of rent at the time of sowing the crops 
was less and at the time of reaping it reached double of that. 

2. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Jaipur Record, File 
No J-2-5525 II (R)—I939, Pad No. 89, p. 278. 

3. Ibid , Pile No. J-2-2549 Ft. I.,S.No. 2373, Pad No. 70, p. 25. 

4. Ibid., Pile No. J-2-7483, Pt. //, Pad No. 97, p. 193. 

5. Ibid, File No. J-2-2549- N (5. No. 2369), Pad No. 70, pp. 207 
and 208. 

6. Ibid, File No. J-2-7483-VI, Pad No. 98, p. 162. 

7. Ibid., Fiie No. J-2-2549 {Note for Council), Pad No. 70, p. 21. 

8. Ibid ,-p. 13. 



138 


Feasant Movements in Rajasthan 


9. Ibid., File No. J-2-7483MI, Pad No. 97, p. 193. 

10. Ibid., File No, J-2-2549-V {S. No. 2369), Pad No. 70, p. 231. 

11. Ibid., pp. 231 and 243. 

1 . Ibid., File No. J- 2-2549 {Note for Council), Pad No. 70, p. 14. 

13. Ibid., File No. J-2-2549-V {S.No. 2369). Pad No. 70, p. 231. 

14. Ibid. 

15. Ibid., File No. J-2-7483-1X, Pad No. 99, p. 7. 

16. Ibid., File No. J-2-2549 {Note for Council), Pad No. 70. p. 14. 

17. Rajasthan State Archives Branch Jaipur, File No. R-5- 183- 1931 
(Miscellaneous papers). 

18. For detail see previous chapter entitled, “^Agricultural Practices 
and Remunerations" . These cesses created large troubles for 
peasants in keeping the cattle which is the back-bone of 
agricultural economy. 

19. Rajasthan State Archives Bikaner, Jaipur Record, Pile No. J-2- 
7483-IX, Pad No. 99, pp. 5-6. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Ibid., File No. J-2-5525-11 (R)—Pad No 89, p. 277. 

22. Ibid., Pile No. J-2~5525-III, Pad No. 89. p. 87. 

23. Ibid., This purcha is also attached with above mentioned file 
on page no. 87. 

24. Ibid., File No. J-2-7483-II—Pad No. 97, p. 193. 

25. Ibid., File No. 3-2-7483-VlI—Pad No. 99, p. 13. 

26. Rajasthan State Archives Branch Jaipur, File No. 90! N.W.R.j 
C.V. (Deposited Record). 

27. Rajasthan State Archives Bikaner. Jaipur Record, File No. J-2- 
7483-IX—Pad No. 99, pp. 2 and 9. 

28. Ibid., File No. J-2-7483-VI—Pad No. 98, p. 162. 

29. Ibid. 

30. Ibid., p. 2. 

31. Ibid., File No. J-2-2549 {Note for Council), p. 14. 

32. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Political 
Department. File No. 99 (7) — 1925, p. 9. 

33. Harijan, March 23, 1940. 



Peasant Agitations in the Jaipur State 


139 


34. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foieign Department, 
December 1882, A Political J-No. 29-35; also see. The Raj- 
putana Gazetter, Vol. 11, Calcutta, 1879, pp. 138-140. 

35. Rajasthan State Archives Bikaner, Jaipur Recoid, File No. 1-2- 
2549 {Note for Council), p. 13. 

36. Ibid., File No. J-2-7483-VlJ—Pad No. 99, p. 20. 

37. Ibid. 

38. H. D.yiB\s.viySi, [Land [Reforms in India, New Delhi, 1954, 
p. 337. 

39. National Archives of India, New Delhi. Foreign and Political 
Depaitment, — Deposit Intciial. Progs. January 1922, No. 17. 
This Society was formed in 1918. 

40 Ibid., pp. 5-9. 

41. /6/rf.. pp. 7-8. 

42. Ibid., pp. 4 and 5. 

43. Ibid.. File No. J-2-7493, Pad No. 96, p. 53. 

44. Rajasthan State Archives Bikaner, Jaipur Record File No. J-2- 
7483-Pt. VII. Pad No. 99, p. 13. 

45. Ibid. 

46. Ibid., p. 15. 

47. Ibid. 

48. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Poieign and Political 
Department, File No. 88 {7)~P, 1925, p. 7. 

49. Ibid. 

50. Rajasthan State Ai chives Bikaner, Jaipur Record, File No. J-2- 
783-Pt. VII— Pad No. 99, p. 15. 

51. Ibid., File No. J 2-7 483-Pt. IX— Pad No. 99, p. 1 In 1925 an 
annual function of Akhil Bhartiya Jat Mahasabha was held in 
Pushkar, which created a deep stir among the Jar cultivators. 

52. Ibid.. File No. J-2-2549-Pt. I- Pad No. 70, p. 12. 

53. Ibid., pp. 5-6 and 12 and see also File No. J-2-2549 {Note for 
Council), pp. 3-6. 

54. Deshraj : Shekhawati ke Jan Jagran Evam Kisan Andolan ke 

Char Jaipur, 1961, p. 14. 



140 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


55. Rajasthan State Archives Bikaner, Jaipur Record, File No. J-2- 
7483-Pt. IX— Pad No. 99, p. 2. 

56. Ibid. 

57. Ibid. 

58. Ibid., File No. J-2-7483~Pt. IX -Pad No. 99, pp. 3-5, 

59. Ibid., pp. 5-8. 

60. Ibid., File No. J-2-7483~Pt. VII— Pad No. 99, p. 26. 

61. Ibid; pp. 26-27. 

62. De.shraj, Op. Cit., pp. 22-23. 

63. Rajasthan State Archives Bikaner, Jaipur Record, File No. J- 2- 
7483-Pt. IX -Pad No. 99, p. 10. 

54. Ibid., File No. J-2-7483~Pt. VII Pad No. 99, p. 27. 

65. The Hindustan Times, 29 May 1935, pp. 9-10, quoted by 
Deshraj, Op. Cit., pp, 23-25. 

66. Rajasthan State Archives Bikaner, Jaipur Record, File No. J-2- 
7483 Pt.PadNo. 99, p. 11. 

67. Ibid., File No. J-2-2549, Pt. VII -Pad No. 70, pp. 1-3. Also see, 
Deshraj, Op. Cit., p. 26. 

68. For details see Deshraj Op. Cit., pp. 26-28. 

69. Rajasthan State Archives Bikaner, Jaipur Record, Fde No. J-2- 
2549-Pt. Il—Pad No. 77, jjp. 59-65. 

70. Ibid., File No. J-2-2549 {Note for Council), p. 15, 

71. Ibid,, pp. 16 and 17. 

72. Ibid., File No. J-2-2549-Pt. V-Pad No. 70, p. 398. 

73. Ibid; File No. J-2-5525-Pt 11— Pad No. 89. 

74. Rajasthan State Archives Branch Jaipur, File No. 90IN.W.R.I 
C.V. Revenue Department {deposited Record). 

75. File on Uniara movement preserved with Hari Shankar Siddant 
Shastri, Jaipur, a prominent leader of the Scheduled Caste and 
a former Member of the Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan. 

76. Rajasthan State Archives Branch, Jaipur, Deposited Record, 
File No. 90IN.W.R.IC.V.I Revenue Department. 



7 


PEASANT MOVEMENT IN JODHPUR STATE 


The State ot Jodhpur was the biggest State of Rajasthan 
covering an area about 26% of the province. Here the land was 
mainly held by the Jagirdars, as 87% pai t of the Jodhpur State 
was under them. Only 13% part was under the direct manage- 
ment of the State in which .some rules of land revenue administra- 
tion existed. The position of peasants in the Jagir area was tenant 
at will. The peasants were exploited and oppressed at the hands 
of Jagirdars and there was no remedy to get justice as most of the 
Jagirdars were empowered with judiciary powers. The peasantry 
of Jodhpur arose against the feudal exploitation m 1922 under the 
influence of various international, national and local events. The 
conditions of the peasants wcie deplorable and they were not find- 
ing any way out to get their conditions improved. They were 
carrying the burden as an irony of fate. The peasants were the 
victims of three-fold exploitation i.c. the British, the Maharaja and 
the Jagirdars. When the peasants of Jodhpur awakened in the 
wake of national upheaval they became very much conscious 
about their rights and they presented a number of grievances 
before the authorities. Their grievances were simillar to other 
states such as the heavy land revenue, insecurity of land tenures, 
large number of cesse.s, rattle tax, begar etc. 

The history of mass awakening in Jodhpur State began from 
1915 when the first political society known as Maritdhar Mitra 
Hitkarini Sabha was established. This society aimed at looking 
after the social and economic interests of the people of Marwar. 
The activities of this society remained confined to Jodhpur city 
and its influence was also limited. The second political organisa- 
tion known as Marwar Seva Sangh came into being in 1921 which 



142 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


was a broad based organisation. It was influenced by the Rajasthan 
Seva Saitgh, which was established in 1920 by Vijay Singh Pathik. 
Marwar Seva Sangh aimed at protesting against the misrule, 
corrupt bureaucracy, lawlessness, and creating awakening among 
the people of all sections of Marwar, During this period the 
peasant movement at Bijolia was in progress and all the neighbour- 
ing States of Rajasthan became alert to check such type of activi- 
ties. The fear of non-co-operation was also obvious and the 
Marwar Seva Sangh was consideied the ofishoot ol the Indian 
National Congress. The newly formed organisation put the 
Jodhpur Police on alert. The Inspector General of Police of the 
State recommended to crush the activities of this organisation and 
institute a case against its leader Jai Narain Vyas under the Sedi- 
tion Act.i All those measures of the State Police put this organi- 
sation to a premature end. This organisation could not enlist 
much members, as it was also confined to the city. But these early 
activities awakened the masses to some extent and created political 
awareness. These activities were in the hands of enlightened urban 
middle class leaders. The leaders also felt that without a broad 
social base they could not achieve their goal. The leadership has 
not disheartened with the failure and its efforts for a broad-based 
mass organisation continued. 

In 1922 a new chapter of mass movements opened with the 
tribal movement. The tribe men of Marwar (Jodhpur) joined the 
Eki movement launched by Moti Lai Tejawat. Alongwith the 
social reform activities the Bhils and Garassias of Bali and Godwar 
districts of Jodhpur State refused to pay land revenue and other 
taxes during the year 1922.2 Jodlipur State posted military forces 
in the disturbed areas to suppress the movement. This brought the 
situation under control. The Bhils and Garassias became aloof 
from the Eki and agreed to pay the usual taxes. The Panchas of 
tribes signed an Iqrarnama to this effect.3 

The above movement got a special significance as for the 
first time a exploited section of society came into direct confronta- 
tion with the State authorities. This also induced the idea of 
protest among the down trodden peasantry of Jodhpur State. In 
the history of protest against feudalism the tribal movement of 
Jodhpur State may be considered a pioneer movement. 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


143 


The phase of 1920-22 created suitable political conditions to 
advance the cause of exploited people. Jai Narain Vyas a leading 
politician of Jodhpur State continued his efforts to buildup a 
powerful mass movement. The activities and growth of Marwar 
Seva Sangh were hampered by the State through mounting police 
and legal pressures upon its leaders and workers. The said organi- 
sation did not make much headway. This organisation became 
defunct when a political organisation known as Marwar Hitkai ni 
Sabha came into being in its wake in 1923. In fact the A/m war 
Seva Sangh was converted into the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha as 
various restrictions were imposed by the State on the Sangh.^ 

Movements Under the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha 

The aims and objects of the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha were 
political. It was a firm belief of its leaders that they could achieve 
their political goal only through mass movements. It was a diffi- 
cult task to organise political work in a state where the press was 
gagged and sedition Acts were in existence. But the Marwar 
Hitkarni Sabha soon got the opportunity of political work with its 
biith as an agitating public issue arose in 1923. 

The council of State, Jodhpur, passed an order on 29th 
October, 1923 to permit the export of live-stocks to raise the State 
revenue. 5 The said order was resented by the people of Marwar 
on social, religious and economic grounds. As a result of the order, 
thousands of animals were transported to the contonments of 
Ajmer, Nasirabad, Palanpur, etc. and to the butcheries of Bombay 
and Ahmedabad.6 This information agitated the people on reli- 
gious grounds as the cows were also exported in large numbers. 
The effects of this policy were far reaching on the economy. In 
Jodhpur State Cattle breeding was equally important to agricul- 
tural operations. In the desert region the peasants mainly 
depended on cattle breeding. The export of animal, mainly of 
female-cattle, caused depletion of cattle wealth for a long period 
and the situation deteriorated to the extent of a virtual collapse of 
rural economy. The Marwar Hitkarni Sabha decided to fight this 
public issue to channelise the mass discontentment into political 
channels. 

The effects of cattle export policy were expected to be 
multi-dimensional. The money-lenders and Jagirdars used to take 



144 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


away the livestock in lieu of debt and revenue from the peasants in 
cases of non-payments. The livestock seized by the money-lenders 
and Jagirdars were either sold in the local area or given back to the 
peasants on share breeding. The prohibition on export of livestock 
restricted them to some extent but the export policy made it easy 
to seize the livestock in large number. The efiects of this export 
policy and view of the Marwar Hitkarm Sabha are well explained 
by Sobhag Mathur as follows : 

“At that time, in the adjoining States like Udaipur, 
Jaipur, Bikaner, export of she-goats and sheep was 
prohibited; and the leader of the HUkarni Sabha, 
Jainarain Vyas in his representation to His Highness 
not only brought this to his notice but stated that 
such an export would result in reduction of number 
of goats and sheep which formed sometimes the only 
wealth of the rural masses and was their permanent 
source of income in Marwar. It would also cause 
scarcity of wool, ghee and manure. He quoted in his 
representation Lord Chelmsford in whose report it 
was mentioned that the State of Marwar should pay 
more attention to the breeding of goats and sheep as it 
was vital for the economy of the State and for the 
prosperity of its people.”'^ 

The cattle export policy became an important public issue 
and the Manvar Hitkarni Sabha launched a compaign against it by 
forming a committee.^ 

Jai Narain Vyas presented the representation before the 
Maharaja to get the cattle export policy cancelled. The demand 
was very much reasonable but it was turned down by the State as 
collective and organised efforts were not acceptable and tolerable. 
The Marwar Hitkarni Sabha accelerated its efforts and to win over 
the public support a large number of leaflets were distributed. A 
public meeting was held on 1 5th July 1924 at Jodhpur to mount 
pressure upon the State authorities.® The meeting proved very 
successful as it gained wide mass support and triggered off a series 
of public meetings. Through these public meetings the Marwar 
Hitkarni Sabha and the issue of cattle export were gaining wide 
popularity and public meetings became an appropriate way of 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


145 


protest. In order to create terror in the public a large number of 
the police force was ordered to be present in public meetings. 
Important workers and leaders were summoned to the police 
station without written orders and without any charge. The 
leaders were ill-treated. The sole purpose in treating the public 
representatives with contempt was to cause frustration in them so 
that they might get disheartened and drop their demands. But the 
repressive measures only made the movement more popular and 
day by day the movement’s social base was widening. Looking to 
the growing public pressure the State accepted the demand on 
15th August, 1924.10 

With this success the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha became very 
much popular in Jodhpur State. The previous organisation viz. 
the Marudhar Mitra Hitkarni Sabha and the Marwar Sewa Sangh 
were confined to the city of Jodhpur and their social base was limi- 
ted to the newly emerged middle class which was negligible in 
number. But the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha widened its base in the 
rural areas and the down-tradden peasants became its members. 
The peasant movements of the other states were spontaneous and 
it was in due course of time that they acquired an organised politi- 
cal character, while in the State of Jodhpur the peasant movement 
was the result of conscious efforts of political organisations. ^This 
movement gave an insight to the peasants and inspired them to 
fight for social and economic freedom from feudal and colonial 
cultures. This also induced self-confidence and courage among the 
peasants.*!^ 

The State authorities w’ere not reconciled to the growing 
popularity of the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha and they decided to 
quash it through various measures. In consequence a new organisa- 
tion known as the Raj Bhakta Desh Hitkarni Sabha came into being 
with the support of State authorities to counteract the activities of 
Marwar Hitkarni Sabha. The new society was established in 
November, 1924.ll This organisation had no social and economic 
programme and its sole object was to support the Maharaja and 
oppose the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha. The Raj Bhakta Desh Hitkarni 
Sabha blindly supported the State and denounced the leadership of 
the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha with false charges of collecting money 
from the public and misusing it. The new organisation could not 



146 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


gain mass support as it became clear very soon to the public that 
the founders of the new organisation were opportunitists who had 
joined hands with the State for their personal ends. The image o f 
the Manvar Hitkarni Sabha was established as the only mass or gani- 
sation and the government efforts to counter it failed^ 

On 1 9th March 1923, the Jodhpur State Council ordered 
the exile of most of the prominent leaders of the Marwar Hitkarni 
Sabha on the ground that their presence was inimical to the 
public interest. Some of the leaders were put under police watch 
and they were ordered to record their presence at the police 
station daily,i2 The organisation was not much powerful as it 
was obly in a growing stage and the leaders were not in favour of 
confrontation with the government. To avoid confrontation, 
these orders were not opposed by the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha. 
The orders were considered as attack and the leaders decided to 
widen their base and make the organisation strong enough to 
accept the challenges in future. 

The main leader Jai Narain Vyas was not exiled but he 
was put under police watch. His activities were completely 
checked and he preferred to go into voluntary exile and left 
Jodhpur. He resided mostly in Beawar and Ajmer and from 
there he enlightened the people of Marwar. There he associated 
himself with the activities of Rajasthan Seva Sangh and accepted 
the editorship of a weekly Tarim Rajasthan published by the 
Sangh. The absence of the prominent leaders did not dishearten 
the second rank leaders of the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha and they 
remained active. They spoke against the price rise of food-grains 
and other essential commodities. In October 1928 a deputation 
of the Sabha met the President of the Jodhpur State council and 
requested for a ban on export of the cereals. Its efforts succeeded 
and a ban was imposed on the export of cereals.13 Jai Narain 
Vyas continued his compaign writing under the column “Present 
Day Marwar” in the Young Rajasthan. 

All the above efforts not only succeeded in keeping the 
Marwar Hitkarni Sabha and its movement alive but also in widen- 
ing its social base. In the beginning of 1 929 the Sabha became 
much active and planned to launch a movement of agriculturists 
as it was the only potential section of society which could be 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


147 


shaped into a political force in Jodhpur State. Jai Narain Vyas 
through his writings brought the miserable conditions of the 
peasants of Jodhpur State to public notice.^^ At a meetings of the 
Marwar Hitkarni Sabha on 12th May, 1929 a committee consisting 
of nine persons was formed with the object of awakening the 
rural masses against forced labour, high rate of land revenue, 
various cesses, and other grievances-^^ Narain Vyas appealed 
t o the peasants to sta rt a non-violent movement agai nst the 
Jagirdars and not to pay any revenue or tax and lags to the 
Jagirdars as a protes t against their atrociti es.!^ This was the formal 
call to begin the agitation in the Jagir areas of Jodhpur State. It 
was the considered view of the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha that the 
peasants of the Jagir area were, in comparison to the Khalsa, 
living in more deplorable conditions. Thus, the Sabha concen- 
trated on the cause of peasants of the Jagir areas. To attract the 
public attention towards the conditions of peasants the Sabha 
published two booklets entitled “Popa~Bai-ki-Pol” and “Marwar- 
ki-Awastha”. 

All these activities alerted the State authorities and some 
precautionary measures were adopted to check them. The Sabha 
stirred the peasants in the Jagirs of Raipur, Bagri and Balunda. 
The peasants of these Jagirs followed the call and refused to 
recognise the authority of the Jagirdars. The movement was 
very slow in picking up due to various reasons. The Marwar 
Hitkarni Sabha was not an organisation of peasants. There was 
discontentment among the peasants but there was no initiation from 
the peasants to struggle. In Jodhpur State there were many geogra- 
phical, environmental, communication, cultural, social and economic 
diversities which did not allow smooth organisation of the peasants. 
The leaders of the Sabha were mostly urban elements and it was 
in some ways a handicap. Not only this but the leaders were 
from the upper castes of the Hindu'hirearchy and their intercourse 
with the peasant caste was not easy. Despite all these short- 
comings the state authorities considered this a powerful movement. 
The Inspector General of Police, Jodhpur reported to Govern- 
ment that the activities of Jai Narain Vyas, Anand Raj Surana 
and Bhanwarlal Sarraf were a sort of Bolshevic movement and it 
needed serious measures on the part of the government.t? 



148 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


The Marwar Hiikarni Sabha decided to hold the first 
session of the Marwar State’s people conference on 11th and 1 2th 
October, 1929 at Jodhpur. To encourage the rural community to 
attend the conference in large numbers its delegates were allowed 
to attend the session free.is All the arrangements were made for 
this conference but all of a sudden the government disallowed the 
conference.18 The government orders were resented by the 
Sabha. Anticipating that the situation might worsen, the State 
decided to arrest Jai Narain Vyas, Anand Raj Surana and 
Bhanwarlal Sarraf. On 23rd September, 1929 the above leaders 
were arrested and were tried by the special court. On 20th 
January, 1930 the said court gave its judgement in which Jai 
Narain Vyas was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment 
and fined Rs. 1,000/- or in default to undergo one year of rigo- 
rous imprisonment. Bhanwar Lai Sarraf and Anand Raj Surana 
were sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment and fined 
Rs. 1,000/- each or to undergo one year rigorous imprisonment 
in default.20 In March, 1931 the political detainees were released 
in British India. Jodhpur State also released the leaders on 9th 
March, 1931 in accordance with the Gandhi-Irwin pact. 

The peasant movement launched in some Jagirs under the 
leadership of the Marwar Hitkarni Sabha in 1929 could not 
advance much. The activities of the Sabha remained checked 
for one year when its leaders were put in Jail. 

Sponteneons Peasant Movement 

The political activities launched by various organisations 
opened the way for protest against the defective State policies and 
injustice. The world wide economic depi'ession of 1930 affected 
the poor peasant masses much more. In Jodhpur State draught 
conditions prevailed in the year 1930- U, which made the peasants 
miserable. The peasants of the Khalsa villages were unable to 
pay cash rents. The Mali cultivators held a general meeting at 
China-Ka-Baria (a place near Mandore) on 8th July, 1931 in 
which they decided to represent before the government to request 
for 50% remission in cash rents. In fact the cash rent system 
which was known as bigori system was introduced in 1928 after a 
new settlement of the Khalsa land in 1921-26.21 The rates fixed 
under this were definitely higher than the rates charged under Latai 
system. 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


149- 


The peasants submitted a number of petitions to the 
revenue authorities between 14th to 18th July, 1931, but no heed 
was paid to their request,22 Thereupon, the peasants in their 
several meetings held in different villages decided to outcaste 
those who would pay the land revenue to the State.23 These 
activities were confined around Mandore among Mali cultivators. 
The State took early steps as the peasants had already threatened 
a no-rent compaign. The State ordered a total remission of 
Rs. 2,597/- in rent for the villages of Mandore, Began and 
Ghainpura.24 This decision did not satisfy the peasants as their 
demand was for reduction in amount under bigori system. Due 
to limited strength the above movement could not continue. The 
remission given by the State proved the success of this movement. 
The issue of begori system and this movement attracted the 
political workers and peasants of the Jodhpur State to some 
extent. 

The Marwar State People’s Conference 1931 

The holding of the Marwar State People’s Conference 
marked a new phase of the peasant movement. The first session 
of the Marwar State People’s Conference was held at Pushkar 
(Ajmer) on 24ih and 25th November, 1931 under the President- 
ship of Chand Karan Sharda.25 The said session was to be held 
in October 1929 at Jodhpur, but it was banned by the State. 
Again there were the possibilities of various obstacles in the way 
from the State and to avoid it Pushkar was considered an appro- 
priate place. 

Chand Karan Sharda in his Presidential address requested 
of Maharaja of Jodhpur to abolish begar, lag-bag and ban on 
papers. He also asked for administrative reforms. 26 The follow- 
ing resolutions relating to the peasantry were passed. 27 

1. The practice of begar should be stopped at once. 

2. A Committee should be formed to look after the welfare 
of the peasantry. 

3. All the Jagtrdars should be deprived of their judicial 
powers. 

4. Panchayats should be established in villages. 



150 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


5. The increased land-revenue under system should 
be reduced without delay. 

6. Peasants should be given occupancy rights. 

The above resolutions passed by the Marwar State People’s 
Conference were owned by the Marwar Hitkarni Sabba. In the 
iirst week of December, 1931a large number of peasants assem- 
iiled at Jodhpur under the leadership of the Marwar Hitkarni 
Sabha The peasants from different districts submitted their 
petitions to the revenue authorities of the State under the 
guidance of the Sabha 28 In this campaign peasants participa- 
tion was encouraging and the peasants remained in the fore-fiont. 
In 1931 a new organisation known as the Marwar Youth League 
came into being and it also participated in this compaign of 
peasants. The peasants again submitted various petitions to the 
State authorities between 9th February, to 2nd March, 1932 and 
requested them to abolish Lag-bags and to reduce the land 
revenue under bigori system.29 To check the growth of this 
agrarian struggle the government declaicd the Marwar Hitkarni 
Sabha and the Marwar Youth League unlawful organisations on 
5ih Match, 1932.8® 

The ban on the above organisations dealt a severe blow to 
the agraiian struggle launched under the influence of the Pushkar 
Goniercnce. The movement built-up by the Marwar Hitkarni 
Sabha got a severe set-back. 

Movement Under the Leadership of Marwar Lok Parishad 

After 1932 the peasant movement in Jodhpur remained 
checked for a long time. Between 1932-34 there were some 
scattered agitations in the areas of Naeaur Pargana. The agita- 
tions of the above period were not significant as they could not 
succeed in making the cause advance. In fact for two years the 
political activities in Jodhpur came to a halt due to the repressive 
policy of the State. In the year 1934 the Jodhpur P raja Mandal 
and in 1P36 the Civil liberties Union came into being. The acti- 
vities of both these organisations were limited to the Urban area. 
These were also declared unlawful by the State in 1937. In 
May, 1938 a new organisation known as the Marwar Lok Parishad 
was established. The formation of this organisation took place 
under favoui-able national political situation. 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


151 


The activities in the princely states had attracted the 
attention of the national leaders and the Indian National 
Congress. The most formidable and oppressive stronghold of 
feudalism lay in the i)rincely states and it was challenged in 1934 
in the Shekhawati Region of Jaipur State by peasant outbreaks. 
Such type of outbreaks took place in Ajmer, Aiwar, Kashmir, 
Loharu etc. The Congress still was following the policy of non- 
interference in the affairs of the princely states. The All-India 
States People’s conleience had been a very moderate body, 
confined to drawing up petitions and issuing pamphlets. In 1936 
Jawahar Lai Nehru addressed the fifth session of the All India 
States People’s Conference which marked the beginning of a 
change. Nehru urged the need for mass contacts in place of 
mere petitions, and the session for the first time drew up a pro- 
gramme of agrarian demands : a one third cut in land revenue, 
scaling down of debts, and an enquiry into peasant grievances in 
the context of the tiagedies of Kashmir, Aiwar, Sikar and 
Loharu.3l A significant advance was made bv the mass move- 
ments between 1937-1939. In February 1938 the Indian National 
Congress in Haripura session decided to support the movements 
of princely states. The establishment of the Marwar Lok Parishad 
got inspiration and encouragement from the above political 
developments. 

During the year 1938-39 there was a famine in Jodhpur 
State and the peasants were much affected by it. The Marwar Lok 
Parishad worked a lot for the famine striken peasants and became 
popular among them right from its inception. Jainarain Vyas, 
the inspiring genius behind the political awakening in Jodhpur 
State, was in exile. The working committee of the Parishad 
demanded the government for withdrawl of the exile order on 
their leader Jai Narain Vyas. In February, 1939 the government 
allowed the entry of Vyas32 and the Parishad became much active. 
Between July-August, 1939 Parishad passed 28 resolutions related 
to civil rights, amendment of Press Act of 1923, compulsory educa- 
tion etc. The largest number of resolutions were moved by Jai 
Narain Vyas who drew up a scheme to be adopted to improve the 
lot of villages.33 

The Marwar Lok Parishad between September to December 
1939 focussed mainly on three issues to build up a powerful mass 



152 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


movement. The first issue was related to the famine conditions and 
famine relief policy. The workers of the Parishad propogated that 
the peasants’ inability to face the famine conditions was due to their 
poor economic conditions which was the result of economic exploi- 
tation by the State and Jagirdars. The famine of 1939 vas very 
much severe, the like of which had not been experienced for many 
decades. There was an acute shortage of food, fodder and drinking 
water in the villages. Some relief measures were adopted by the 
State which could not cater to the need of the hour as the Jagir- 
dars did nothing in this direction. Further, whatever relief was 
available could not reach the distressed people due to corrupt and 
inefficient administrative machinery. On the one hand, the Parishad 
criticised the famine relief policy, and took up the cause of the 
suffering masses in its hands, on the other. The Marwar Lok 
Parishad emerged as the real mass party. 

Secondly, the Second World War broke-out in September, 
1939 and the Parishad opposed the measures adopted by the 
government to support the War. The government not only 
extended military support but also contributed money to the 
British for War efforts. The Parishad’s view behind the opposi- 
tion was clear that the peoples were dying of starvation and the 
state was sending huge amounts for war. 

Thirdly, the Parishad began a campaign against the 
Jagirdars as 87% area of the State was held by them. To win 
over the large mass support it was essential to the Parishad to 
clinch the issues relating to the masses of Jagirs. In 1936 many 
lag-bags (Cesses) were abolished by the State but the Jagirdars 
continued to levy them. Begar was rampant in the Jagir areas. 
There were no land rules and the peasants depended on the mercy 
of the Jagirdars who could extract land-revenue and other taxes 
as much as he could and eject the peasants from their holdings at 
any time on any pretext. The Parishad advised the cultivators to 
agitate against the Jagirdari system. 

Jai Narain Vyas, the main leader of the Parishad resigned 
in December 1939 from the membership of the government agen- 
cies such as the Central Advisory Board, the Standing Famine 
Relief Advisory Committee, the Education Reforms Committee, 
the Doles Committee, the Unemployment Committee and 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


153 


Tuberculosis Cominittee.34 The resignation was meant to expose 
these committees which were doing nothing in the public interest. 
It was also not possible for Vyas to prevail upon these committees 
where the majority was of the government members. This act of 
Vyas also added much to the popularity of the Parishad. The 
State authority feared the activities of the Parishad and the Chief 
Minister threatened the use of the Defence of India ordinance 
against the members of the Parishad. Ultimately the Government 
of Jodhpur declared the Marwar Lok Parishad an illegal organisa- 
tion on 28th March, 194U.35 On the same date the State Police 
arrested the prominent leaders and took them to various forts 
where they were left for an year’s incarceration. 

The repressive policy of the State towards the Marwar Lok 
Parishad was due to its penetration in the rural areas. The 
Parishad already called the peasants for revolt against thejagirdars. 
Col. D.M. Field, Chief Minister of Jodhpur State, sent a circular 
on 1st March, 1940 to all thejagirdars and District officers of the 
State. This circular reflects the State’s view about the affair. He 
wrote that “His Highness’s Government desires to inform you that 
the members of the Lok Parishad in Jodhpur, a political body 
professing revolutionary ideas, are engaged busily in opening bran- 
ches of the society in the various districts and thikanas in Marwar. 
They are touring in the various Jagir towns and villages with 
avowed object of fomenting trouble between the Jagirdars and 
ryots.” 

I would advise you, therefore, to instruct all your officials to 
keep a vigilant eye on the activities of the Lok Parishad members 
and to make a note of what they do and say in public meetings etc 
A detailed report, on the doings of the Lok Parishad members and 
the speeches, which they deliver in any of your Jagir villages may 
kindly be sent to me,” 

The above shows that the State Government was afraid of 
the Parishad's anti-Jagirdar policies and activities] The Parishad’s 
anti-Jagirdar and anti-war activities became so serious that the 
Maharaja himself was compelled to come out and justify the action 
of his government. In a statement he clarified, “I do not consider 
it consistent with my duty as a loyal ally of the British Govern- 
ment to allow a groundless political agitation to grow and spread 



154 


Peasant Motements in Rajasthan 


in my slate in time of war nor I am prepared any longer to allow 
an open campaign of subversive agitation manifestly designed to 
encourage our peasantry to revolt and to corrupt our youth,”3<> 

The Manvar Lok Parishad had emerged as a dccprooled 
organisations. Even after the repressive measures the Parishad' s 
campaign remained continued. The Parishad' s workers in absence 
of their leaders compelled the government to abolish the ban from 
the organisation and release the leaders. The government released 
the leaders in June, 1940 and the Lok Parishad got State’s recogni- 
tion under an agreement between the Government and the Lok 
Parishadfi'^ 

In February 1941 the M a rwar Lok Parishad Consnixxied a 
Jagir Committee to enquire into the lag-bag, begar and rate of 
land revenue.35 The said Committee made a detailed enquiry 
into the above points. It reported that the method of land revenue 
assessment and collection was defective The most prevalent 
method was Latai. Under the system the standing crop was 
assessed by the Jagir Officials and on this rough estimate the share 
of the Jagir was calculated. In fact it was a shore of Batai (share- 
cropping) system under which the peasants had got no rights of 
land tenure. The system made them tenants at will. In addition 
to land revenue under Latai method a number of cesses were 
levied and sometimes the amount of cesses was almost double of 
the land -1 evenuc. In Jagir areas remission was not allowed even 
in famine years and in ease of non-payment of land revenue and 
cesses due to hardship the arears w^ere collected with interest in 
normal years. Sometimes the belongings of the peasants such as 
ornaments, utensils, bullocks, cow’s, agiicultural implements w'ere 
seized and auctioned to meet out the amount of ai rears. Further, 
begar was also in vogue which Avas based on inhuman values. This 
was no less than slavery. 

All the above findings of the Jagir Committee of the Marwar 
Lok Parishad made the Jagir issues an important public issue. 
The Pfl'm/tod during 191 1-42 concentrated on the Jagir issue. In 
March 1941 the Parishad launched its anti-Jagirdar campagin. 
The workers of the Parishad dispersed all over the Jagir villages 
and organised several meetings and peasants were persuaded not 
to pay lag-bags and not to perform begar. Along with this the 



Peasant Movemement in Jodhpur State 


155 


peasants also demanded occupancy rights on their holdings. The 
Marwar Lok Parishad’s workers organised prabhat pheris in Jagir 
headquarters to boost up the morale and courage of the peasants. 
The issues take up by the agitators were mainly related to those 
cesses which were prohibited by the State. For instance the 
iSTcr/tJ'fl Zag was levied by the Jagirdars on the occassion of feast 
given by the peasants. This lag w'as declared illegal by the Chief 
Court in its judgement dated 17th March> 1938, but the Jagirdars 
continued to levy this. In the meantime Jai Narain Vyas published 
a booklet entitled Gair Kanooni Lagan (Illegal Cesses) in two parts. 
He wrote in the preface to its first part ; “There are many cesses 
which are prohibited in Marwar. Some cesses have been deelared 
illegal by the courts, but still they are being levied in many Jagirs 
in the manner as if they were legal. It is impossible to implement 
the Government’s orders on the issue of not to levy prohibited and 
illegal cesses unless legal action is taken and adequate punishment 
is given to those Jaghdars who collect such cesses.” He urged the 
educated youth to enlighten the innocent villagers to resist pay- 
ment ol illegal cesses.30 

The anti*ccss movement launched by the Marwar Lok 
Parishad spread all over the Jagir villages of Jodhpur State. 
During this movement the ZoZPor/s/ifli/ never opposed thejagir- 
dari system as such. Mathura Das Maihur, the President of the 
Marwar Lok Parishad, made it clear in a letter dated 6 June, 1941 
to the councillor to Maharaja of Jodhpur. He wiote ‘ The Lok 
Parishad has never declared the elimination of Jagii dari as its 
policy nor does it stand for creating a gulf between the Jagirdars 
and their tenants. What it stands for is that the poor peasants and 
people residing in Jagir areas should not be illegally exploited ^0 

The above movement alarmed the Jagirdars Though the 
Marwar Lok Parishad did not demand the abolition of the Jagir 
system but its movement proved an attack on the loots of Jagirdari 
system. The Jagirdars held a secret meeting on 15th April, 1941 
to form an organisation against the Lok Panshad In persuasion 
of this meeting’s decision the Jagirdars Associatioti came into being. 
.A caste organisation known as Rajput Sabha, which was estab- 
lished in 1935. also came to the rescue of Jagirdars as most of the 
Jagirdars belonged to this community. Both the organisations 
joined hands against the ZoZ Pans/tflc( and launched an anti-ZoZ 



156 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


Parbhad compaign through inflicting Zularns upon the peasants 
and workers of the Parishad. They also threatened the leaders of 
the like Jai Narain Vyas and Mathura Das Mathur with 

dire consequences if they and their followers entered the Jagir 
villages. Both the organisation of Rajputs and Jagirdars were 
working with the support and guidance of the State. These 
organisation failed in countering the Lok Parishad’ s movement, as 
they lacked the mass support. 

The iiTitrated Jagirdars stopped the latai and prevented 
the peasants from taking the produce without lataiA^ They 
created a dead lock which was adversely affecting the peasants as 
they were in need of grain and other produce. Thejagiidars 
wanted to collect the revenue with Lag-bags and the peasants 
did not agree to it. On the complaints of the Lok Parishad 
and peasants the Government of Jodhpur ordered on 2Uih May, 
1941, that the Jagirdars should perform the /fl/o/ within 15 days 
otherwise Hakim of the pargana would perform latai and give the 
peasants their share.^3. Thejagirdais feared that if they did not 
conduct the latai they would be prevented from their age-old 
rights. 

The Rajput Sabha and Jagirdars Association in a joint 
session on 6th June, 1941 formed a committee to counteract the 
Lok Parishad' s activities collectively. They also resolved to help 
individual Jagirdars against any mass refusal of payment of lag- 
bagM The Jagirdars also represented to the Government on 
8th June, 1941 that the agitators, who were outsider agencies, 
not responsible to us or your ryots, had exploited the ignorance 
of the masses to lead a ‘no-rent’ campaign with a view to assum- 
ing the leadership of the peasantry in the movement and for ail 
times.^5 The Chief Minister’s order of May, 1941, regarding 
Latai was withdrawn on 30th June, 1941 as it hurt the feelings of 
the Jagirdars.^6 The Jagirdars forcibly collected the land- 
revenue with lag-bags. In fact the Jagirdars impressed upon the 
Government that they were capable of combating the situation if 
the State extended its support to them. The disputes between the 
peasants and Jagirdars did not end here and violent clashes took 
place in Jagir villages The Government of Jodhpur was adopt- 
ing every measure to check the peasant movement. On the one 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


157 


hand, the State gave free hand to thejagirdars and, on the other, 
it tried to settle the matter peacefully. The councillor to the 
Maharaja interviewed the representatives of the Marwar Lok 
Parishad, the Rajput Sabha B.nd the Jagirdars Association and 
proposed to establish Central and District Conciliation Boards. 
The District Boards were empowered : to settle the issues between 
peasants and Jagirdars. 1 he Central Board was conferred powers 
to examine cases unsettled by the District Boards and to act as 
an appellate body also. The Government agreed to the proposal 
and established the Conciliation Boards on 30th June, 1941.^^ 
The objects behind the formation of these Boards was to help 
the Jagirdars and to give false comfort to the peasants. It also 
aimed at neutralising the movement and to break the peasant 
base of the Marwar Lok Parishad. 

The Conciliation Boards so constituted had five members 
each. The persons on each Board were to be as follows : 

(a) The Hakim of the Pargana (District) as the President. 

(b) Two Jagirdars of that Pargana selected by the Jagirdar’s 

Association and approved by the Government. 

(c) Two cultivators of good status of the Pargana from disputed 

villages. Hakims were empowered to select the cultivators. 

The constitution of the above Boards shows that it was 
formed to support the Jagirdars. The Marwar Lok Parishad 
which was looking into the interests of the peasants was comple- 
tely ignored by the Government. These Board could not succeed 
in resolving the problem due to various reasons. Firstly, the 
majority of the members was pro-government and pro-Jagirdars 
and they were not interested any agrarian reforms; rather they 
were trying to maintain the status-quo. Secondly, the number 
of disputes were so large that they could not be settled even in 
one or two decades by these Boards. Thirdly, the decisions of 
these Board were not accepted by the peasants enmass without 
involvement of the Marwar Lok Parishad upon whom they relied. 
Though, the Boards became meaningless but they succeeded in 
creating confusion among the peasantry and weakened the move- 
ment for some months. The peasants felt that they had been 
deceived by the Government and Jagirdars, and when the- 



158 Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

peasants reorganised their movement they became more sharp 
and bitter. 

Another mischievous act of the Government to harm the 
peasant’s cause was to encourage the formation of the Marwar 
Kisan Sabha. The State wanted to curiail the peasant base of 
the Marwar Lok Parishad To counteract its position among the 
peasants the Government encouraged the formation of the 
Marwar Kisan Sabha which came into e.xistence on 22nd March, 
1941.^*5 The main organiser and patron of this was Baldeo Ram 
Mirdha, who was Superintendent of Police, Jodhpur and belonged 
to Jat community He was a humble and reliable servant of the 
Raj and rose from the position of a clerk to the rank of I.G.P. in 
1943.^^ The Jats were in large number among the peasants and 
Mirdha exploited them for his personal ends He came to the 
rescue of his master as a loyal servant. The first President of the 
Kisan Sabha was Mangal Singh Kachhawah who was a thekedar 
(contractor) by profession. The Marwar lOsan Sabha was also 
against the Lag bag, forced labour and Latai system but it 
' opposed the working of The Mat war Lok Parishad. The Kisan 
Sabha also advised the peasants to keep away fiom the agitatois 
of the Lok Parishad The Kisan Sabha leaders propogated that 
the Lok Paiishad was an organisation of the upper castes and it 
had nothing to do with the peasant castes If they succeeded in 
getting the so-called ‘Responsible Government’ they would have 
the monopoly of political power and the peasants and down- 
trodden castes would be neglected by them. 

The establishment of the Conciliation Boards could not 
.solve the problem. In September 1941 many incidents of peasants 
harrasment by the Jagirdars took place ^2 The inhuman and 
unlawful actions of the Jagirdars continued They siczed and 
auctioned the cattle, utensils, etc. belonging of the peasants to 
meet the land revenue. Their grain produce was sealed and they 
were prevented from tilling their lands. Their houses were looted 
and burn to ashes. Not only this, some of the Jagirdar.s even 
imposed new taxes The repression by Jagirdars was not confined 
to the peasants; the Jagirdars also aimed at humiliating and 
suppressing the leaders and workers of the Marwar Lok Parishad 
also. The Jagirdars of Pargana Sojat, Bilara andjaitaran colle- 
ctively decided that if the Lok Parishad members visited their 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


159 


villages, they should be beaten and thrown out of the villages 
and their meetings should be dispersed. Some leaders like 
Ghaudhary Uma Ram, Ghhagan Raj Chopasniwala, Kahnyan 
Lai Vaidhya, Inder Mai, Mohan Lai Joshi and Swami Ghaindas 
were insulted and also assaulated at various places. A reign of 
terror was let loose in the Jagir villages. 

The Marwar Kisan Sabha tried to create confusion but due 
to lack of mass support it could not succeed The Lok Parishad 
workers were facing the atrocities with courage. In some areas 
the peasants also began to organise themselves. The Jat 
peasantry ofNagaur Pargana arose under the leadership of the 
Jat Krishak Sudharak Sabha. which was established in 1938.®^ It 
was a social relorm organisation which was operating among the 
Jats for their social upliftment. When the Jagirdars inflicted 
Zulams upon the peasant the majority ol victims were the [ats. 
The Sudharak Sabha came forward in rescue of the Jats. This 
organisation was not a political one and obviously its activities 
were not contrary to the Lok Parishad. On 19th September 1941 the 
Jat Krishak Sudharak Sabha organised a meeting and demanded 
land settlement in Jagir areas and occupancy rights to the 
peasants, abolition of excessive land revenue, cesses and forced 
labour and depriving the Jagirdars of autocratic powers 55 

The above activities strengthened the peasants’ cause and 
their movement Now it became necessary for the Kisan Sabha due 
to its political and social rivalry with the Marwar Lok Parishad 
and the Jat Krishak Sudharak Sangh to take up the cause of 
peasantry. The Kisan Sabha issued a number of bulletins 
supporting the peasants’ demands for which the above organi- 
sations were already struggling. Their maih stress was 
on the abolition of Lag-bag, begar and excessive land 
revenuc.56 On the demand of the Kisan Sabha and to raise 
its popularity among the peasants the Government of Jodhpur 
ppointed a special land rent and lag-bag committee on 16th 
October, 1941 to investigate into the complaints made in the 
bulletins of the Kisan Sabha.^~ With the formation of the special 
committee a large number of petitions were made by the peasants 
from every corner of the State. This committee also proved 
futile as no substantive work was done by it. In fact the new 
committee was creating confusions and lingering the matter to 



. 160 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


weaken the peasant movement. By the end of ''January 1942 the 
Kisan Sabha itself became desperate and gave an open call to the 
peasants to resist the illegal taxes etc. The organisation which 
was formed to serve and support the order was now transforming 
into a real mass organisation. The change in the tune of the 
Kisan Sabha was due to the repressive policies of the Jagirdars. 
They did not spare the leaders and followers of the Kisan Sabha 
as they were beaten mercilessly and treated in a humiliating 
manner by the Jagirdars’ henchmen. 

The Jagirdars organised the Rajputs on communal basis and 
they started attacking the peasants who were mostly Jats. In 1942 
the Jat-Rajput rivalary began and communal riots between both 
the communities took place on a large scale. In these circumstances 
it was not possible for the Kisan Sabha to keep mum. The Kisan 
Sabha represented before the Government through bulletins and 
brought the Jagirdars atrocities into light. In bulletin No. 2 it 
mentioned about a Jagir village Gajoo of Pargana Nagaur as 
follows. 

“There were about 30 or 40 Kisans in this village but 
( owing to heavy taxation and other reasons these arc 
now only 18. But the amount of Kharda Lags is the 
same which is paid by these 18 instead of 40. The 
Officers of the court of wards and Hasiyat arc all 
Jagirdars, though well-educated, yet they pay no 
attention for the welfare of the helpless Kisans who 
are like dumb creatures.” 

In bulletin No. 4 it further complained about the thikana 
of Asop that “This year the Cash amount of numerous lags oi 
two years including last famine, could not be easily paid by 
the poor Kisans on account of the continuous famines and 
marriages in their families, but the thikana armed and mounted 
party arrested the leading Kisans, kept them in Asop Kot in 
confinement, used force and extorted a sum of Rs. 500f- on or 
about 26th August, 1941, in addition to the payment of about 
60% grain of their produce. This was due to the direct and 
immediate result of holding a large meeting of about 200 Jagirdars 
and Rajputs in Asop Kot in August last wherein Thakur Sahib 
^sop was much persuaded to take a lead in using force.” 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


161 


The Kisan Sabha from January 1942 onward continued its 
anti-Jagirdar campaign. It did not co-operate with the Marwar 
Lok Parishad but its activities helped the parishad automatically 
as the cause of both was similar. The peasant movement of 
Jodhpur State in 1942 entered a new phase but remained divided 
for a long time. 

The Marwar Lok Parishad and Chandawal Tragedy 1942 

The Marwar Lok Parishad held on open session on 8th 
February, 1942 at Ladnu in which political workers of all parts 
and organisations participated. The Parishad criticised the 
special land rent and Lag-bag committee for doing nothing in the 
direction of abolishing cesses and forced labour and demanded 
the immediate abolition of these. The problems of the peasants 
of Jagir areas were discussed at length. Ranchordas Gattani in his 
Presidential address assessed the contempaxary situation. 
He remarked that unemployment was on the increase and the 
wages of the peasants were meagre. The people were subjected 
to tlie tyranny of the thanedars, hawaldars and Jagirdars He 
further stressed that until the Parishad secured a responsible 
government the ministers would not be responsible to the people 
and the administration would not feel themselves as servants of 
the people; so long as this was not possible, the woes of the culti- 
vators of the labourers and (he unemployed would not end. The 
Lok Parishad had to create a pi.blic opinion for a responsible 
government, spread the Parishad’ s teachings to every house, and 
the Government should realise that the voice of the Parishad was 
the voice of the people of Marwar. 58 

The Chandawal branch of the Marwar Lok Parishad 
planned to celebrate Responsible Govei nment Day on 28th March, 
1942. Chandawal was a Jagir village in the Pargana Sojat. The 
workers of the Parishad were invited to attend the ceremony from 
all over the Pargana. The Jagirdar of Chandawal did not allow 
them to organise the function m the village. The workers reached 
Chandawal for celebration. The annoyed Jagirdar ordered his 
police, henchmen and hooligans to attack the workers of the 
Marwar Lok Paiishad The thikana men attacked the workers 
with Lathiv and spears in which 25 workers were severly 
wounded. 59 



162 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


On the 28th March 1942 the Manvar Lok Parishad cele- 
brated Responsible Government Day all over Jodhpur State.^O 
After the session at Ladnu thejagirdars became furious and on 
28th March 1942 incidents like that of Ghandawal took place at 
the thikanas of Nimaj, Gundoj, Rodu and Dhamli. 

In protest against these incidents the Parisliad began 
Satyagraha in April, 1942 and by the end of May 1942 all the pro- 
minent leaders were arrested The anti-Jagirdari movement 
launched by the Parishad came to end and the movement for 
civil rights, release of political leaders and establishment of res- 
ponsible government was concentrated within Jodhpur city. In 
the absense of prominent leaders the second rank leaders continued 
the movement which compelled the Government to release their 
leaders in May, 1944. 

From May 1942 to May 1944 the Manvar Lok Parishad’ s 
activities remained confined to the city of Jodhpur but it did 
not give up the cause of the peasantry. 

Movement under the Leadership of the 
Mar war Kisan Sabha 

The Mar war Kisan Sabha became active afici May 1922 as 
the Lok Parishad's activities in the rural areas became weak. 
Though contradictions existed between the Kisan Sabha and the 
Jagirdars but the State was much libeial towards the Kisan Sabha 
due to some reasons. Firstly, the State wanted to cut the Lok 
Parishad's political base through the Kisan Sabha. Secondly, the 
peasant movements became a serious threat to the existence of the 
Jagirdars who desperately needed the State’s help and this brought 
the Jagirdars in the control of the State. 

On 9th June, 1942 ihe Marwar Kisan Sabha issued a bulletin 
in which it thanked the Lok Parishad for starting a movement for 
the abolition of illegal Lag-bags and for advising the peasants not 
to pay them But on the other, the Kisan Sabha opposed the 
agitation launched under the pretext that only the establishment of 
responsible government would solve their problem. In the opinion 
of the Kisan Sabha it did not appear to be beneficial to the Kisans. 
Nor did it agree with the description of the existing Government 
of Mai war as irresponsible®! In fact, the Kisan Sabha opposed the 



Peasant Movemem in Jodhpur State 


163 


Lok Parishad^s movement openly and took the advantage of 
the situation arising from the state’s attack on the Parishad. 
Through the said bulletin the Kisan Sabha again put forward its 
long standing demands. The main demand were as follows : 

(1) The exorbitant and unjustified lag-bags m the Jagir villages 
should be abolished at once. 

(2) A Tenancy Act should be passed to define the rights and 
privilege, of the tenants and their relations with the 
Jagirdars. 

(3) Land settlement should be made in Jagirs. 

The Government took a sympathetic attitude towards 
these demands but it could not conceed them due to the 
opposition of the Mar war Rajput Sabha and the Jagirdars Associa- 
tion. The untiring efforts of the Kisan Sabha eventually compelled 
the Government to order land seitlemeni in the Jagirs. On 2nd 
December, 1943, the Revenue Minister issued the orders for con- 
ducting settlement operations in the Jagir Villages. 62 

The Jagirdars decided to boycott the Jagir settlement work 
conducted by the Government.®^ The Jagirdars decided to pro- 
test through their organisations. They created many obstacles in 
the settlement work and by the end of 1945 nothing was done in 
this regard. The Marwar Kisan Sabha due to its loyalty to the 
Maharaja was not able to push the peasant movement vigourously. 
All the legal measures adopted by the Kisan Sabha failed in secu- 
ring relief for peasants from the feudal oppression. The Marwar Kisan 
Sabha organised a Kigali Sammelan at Jodhpur on 25th September, 
1945. The Sabha invited prominent peasant leaders from other 
parts of the country who were mostly Jats. Ghoudhary Chhotu 
Ram of Punjab was a name among the Jats of northern India; he 
also attended the above peasant conference. The Sammelan was 
also attended by the Maharaja himself with his ministers and 
officers on the invitation and request of Baldev Ram Mirdha, the 
D. I. G. of Police, who was the main organiser of the Kisan Sabha 
and this conference.®^ Baldev Ram Mirdha in his massage told 
to the peasants that “You have not to do any type of violent move- 
ment. We arc not against the Jagirdars at all, and hate the sin not 
the sinner. We are against the evils of Jagiri system which we 
have to erode. The evils of Jagiri system which cause your 



164r Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

miseries should be fought out in the courts of law; definitely you 
would get justice.”®^ 

The above conference proved futile. Logically, it was not 
possible to fight feudalism under feudal legal system itself. When 
many cesses were exempted by the State in 1936 the Jagirdars did 
not comply with this Again in 1938 the courts of law also dec- 
lared the same as illegal cesses. But even upto 1945 the Jagirdars 
continued to levy them. Not only this, by 1945 some new’ lag- 
bags were introduced in some Jagirs. 

Joint Movement of the Marwar Lok Parishad 
and the Marwar Kisan Sabha (1946-1948) 

The atrocities and oppression of the Jagirdars on peasantry 
were increasing day by day. The followers of the Kisan Sabha 
became desperate with its policies. In January, 1946 its policy 
was changed and the Kisan .SrzMo joined hands with the Marwar 
Lok Parishad for the abolition of the Jagirdari System. Both the 
organisations launched a joint movement to achieve a responsible 
government as the Kisan Sabha also came to share the v'cw that 
only responsible government would be able to abolish the Jagirdari 
system. 

The Jagirdars were alarmed by the joint movement and 
they became more violent. They adopted extreme measures to 
curb the political movement which aimed at abolition of the Jagir- 
dari system. They created an atmosphere of terror among the 
peasantry. Not only the ordinary peasants but their leaders too 
became victims of this terror. Severe clashes took place between 
the Jagirdars and peasant leaders and these reached a climax on 
13th March, 1947 at a village Dabra where the Jagirdars attacked 
a Kisan Sammelan. 

The Marwar Lok Parishad and the Marwar Kisan Sabha 
decided to hold a joint session on 13th March, 1947 at a village 
Dabra in Didwana district.®® The announcement of the confe- 
rence made the Jagirdars sit up and thi.s time they determined lo 
teach a lesson to the political agitators. About one thousand Rajputs 
gathered at Dabra three days before the conference. When at 
9 00 A. M. the proceedings of the conference began the Jagirdars 
with their caste men suddenly encircled the assembly of the 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


165 


conference. The leaders and participants were beaten merci- 
lessly with lathies and other lethal weapons The village was also 
surrounded by the hooligans and none of the participant was 
allowed to run. The houses of the peasants were looted and set 
on fire and women were raped. 67 In this incident nearly 12 per- 
sons lost their lives and hundreds were wounded. The leaders 
were taken to the hot where they were humiliated and they were 
freed by the intervention of Seth Dugarji of Molasaar. 

This incident evoked wide-spread protest in the press and 
public meetings were held. The movement for responsible govern- 
ment entered a new phase after this incident. After 15th August, 
1947 the movement accelerated in the changed political conditions 
of the country. The Maharaja tried to consolidate his position 
through reviving the feudal order in an arch reactionary form. 
He also tried to join Pakistan. The Government of India was not 
unaware of what was happening in Jodhpur. V. P. Menon, the 
Secretary of States, Government of India, visited Jodhpur on 
28th February. 1948 to intervene between the State and agitators. 
On 17th June. 1948 a popular interim ministry was formed in 
Jodhpur State. Jai Narain Vyas became the Prime Minister 
and Nathuram Mirdha of the Marwar Kisan Sabha was sworn as 
the Agriculture Minister.®^ The Jagirdars started ejecting the 
peasants from their holdings in an inarbitrary manner. On 22nd 
June, 1948 the Prime Minister issued a notification that no arbi- 
trary ejectment by the Jagirdars would be treated as valid. 69 On 6th 
April, 1949 The Marwar Tenancy Act was passed^O. This Act 
changed the position of the peasants which previously was nothing 
more than tenant at will. Now they were conferred Khatedri 
(occupancy) rights. Thus a long struggle came to a successful end. 



166 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


REFERENCES 

1. S. Matliur, Struggle for Responsible Government in Marwar, 
Jodhpur, 1982, p. H. 

2. Rajasthan State A/chives, Bikaner, Jodhpur confidential Record, 
File No. 106- A. Part I, 1922 

3. Ibid, see also Kishan Pui'i, Memories of Mat war Police, 
Jodhpur, 1936, pp. H2-43. 

4 National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign & Political 
Department, File No 15S-P, 1925. 

5. Jodhpur State's Custom Circular No. 8, 29th October. 1923. 

6. Vem^'R.'ssa, Agraiian Movement in Rajasthan, Jaipur, 1986, 
p. 207. 

7. Sobhag Mathur, Op Cit , p. 15. 

8. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign & Political 
Deptt., File No. 158 (3)~P, 1925. 

9. Sobhag Mathur, Op. Cit.. p. 16. 

10. Report on the Administration of Marwar, 1923-24, Appendix 
XXII, and the Princely India, 30th May, 1 925, p. 5. 

11. G. L. Devra, (Ed), Socio-Economic History of Rajasthan, p. 104 
(Article of S.S. Gahlot entitled “Marwar Politicat Parties for 
the economic uplift of cultivators (1921-1949)”. 

12. S Mathur, Op. Cit , pp. 23-24. 

13. The Princely India, 19th October, 1928. 

14. Tarim Rajasthan, dated 25th March, 1929. 

15. Pema Ram, Op. Cit., p. 209. 

16. Ibid. 

17. Rajasthan Stale Archives. Bikaner. Jodhput confidential Record. 
File No. 3jF. (Administraiion). 

18. The Hindustan Times, 29th September, 1929. 

19. The Tarun Rajasthan. 16th September, 1929. 

20. Rajasthan State Archives Btanch Jodhpur, Jodhpur Jagir 
Record, File No. C. 4(3 Pari II, 1932 {Copy oj the Judgement) 
and The Bombay Chtonicai, 23rd January, 1930. 

21. Final Report on the Settlement Operations of the Khalsa 
Villages in the Marwar State, 1921-26, pp. 20-24. 



Peasant Movement in Jodhpur State 


ley 


22. Arjun, 1st August, 1931. 

23. Pema Ram, Op. Cit., p. 211. 

24. Rajasthan State Archives Branch Jodhpur, Jodhpur Hawala 
Record. Pile No. C-6/J. Part III, 1931. 

25. The Hindustan Times, 14th November, 1931. 

26. Rajasthan State Archives Branch Jodhpur, Mahakma Khas, File 
No. 8-H, 1920-1931. 

27. Ibid. 

28. Ibid., Jagir Record, File No. 4/3, 1932. 

29. Ibid. 

30. Notification No. 78 dated 5th March, 1932, published in the 
Marwar Gazettee, dated 7th March, 1932. 

31. S. Sarkar, Modern India 1885-1947, New Delhi, 1983, p. 341. 

32. Sobhag Mathur, Op. Cit , p. 63. 

33. Ibid., p. 68. 

34. The Bombay Chronicle, 30th December, 1939. 

35. The Jodhpur Government Gazettee {Extra ordinary), 28th 
March, 1940. 

36. The Times of India, 1st April, 1940. 

37. Jhe Hindustan Times, 27th June, 1940. 

38. Jai Narain Vyas, Gair Kanooni Lagan, p. 7. 

39. Ibid. 

40. G. L. Deura, (Ed.), Op. Cit , pp. 106-7. 

41. Veer Arjun, 20th April, 1941. 

42. The Marwar Lok Parishad Bulletin, Year 1., Vol. 4, March, 
1941. 

43. Order No. 10490 dated 20th May, 1941, from Chief Minister 
to all the Hakims of parganas (quoted by Pema Ram, Op. Cit., 
p. 219). 

41. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Jodhpur confidential Record. 
File No. 79, Pad No. 8. 

45. Deura, Op. Cit., p. 107. 

46. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Jodhpur Administration- 
Record. File No. C-76, Part IV, 1941. 



168 


Peasant Movenunt in Rajasthan 


47. Ibid. 

48. Shri Baldeo Ram Mii dlia ; A Biography ^ jodh'pur, 1971, p. 43. 

49. Ibid., pp. 15-19. 

50. Ibid., pp. 43 and 49. 

51. The Marwor Lok Porishad Bulletin, Year I, Vol. Vlll.jxxly 
1941. 

52. Ibid., Vol. X. September, 1941. 

53. Ibid., Vol. VIIT-IX, 1941. 

54. Thakur Deshraj. Riyasti Bharat Ki Jot Jan Sevak, pp. 170-196. 

55. Ibid., pp. 202-203. 

56. Rajasthan State Archives Branch Jodhpur, Mahakma Khas File 
No. 11, Jon. 1942. 

57. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Jodhpur .Administration 
Record File No. C~76. Part V, 1941. 

58. Sobhag Mathur, Op. Cit., pp. 100-101. 

59. The Praja Sevak, 30th March, 1942. 

60. Jodhpur Andolan Ki Haqikat (A booklet published by the 
Government of Jodhpur, 1942) pp. 2 and 3. 

61. Bulletin of the Marwar Kisan Sabha entitled An Appeal to 
Khans", dated 9th June, 1942. 

62. The Jodhpur Government Gazettee of 11th December and 15th 
December, 1943. 

63. Rajasthan State Archives. Bikatier, Jodhpur Administration 
Record, File No. 76, Part VI. 

64. Shri Baldeo Ram Mirdha : A biography, p. 49. 

65. Ibid., p. 51. 

66. The Praja Sewak, 15th March, 1947. 

67. Ibid. 

68. The Jodhpur Government Gazettee {extraordinary), \9thj-ane, 
1948. 

69. The Jodhpur Government Gazettee, 26th June, 1948. 

"70. Ibid., 6th April, 1949. 



8 


PEASANT MOVEMENT IN ALWAR AND 
BHARATPUR STATES 


ALWAR STATE 

The State of Alwar had a different system of land revenue 
and administration. Here 80% land was under the Khalsa area 
while only 20% under the Jagirs or Ghoir-Khalsa. Obviously, the 
number of Jagirdars was very few. Most of the Jagirdars held 
petty Jagirs ranging from 10 bighas to 5 villages and no Jagirdar 
was conferred judiciary powers. The condition of peasantry was 
satisfactory in comparison with the peasants of the other States of 
Rajasthan. Due to its proximity to Delhi and Agra cities, 
Punjab and United Provinces, the State’s outlook remained very 
much progressive. 

A large number of peasants had permanent occupancy land 
rights who were known as biswadars in the Khalsa area.^ In most 
of the cases the peasants rights were secured on their holdings. 
They could not he ejected from their holdings as far as they paid 
the land revenue without default. The worst system of land 
revenue was Ijara system. The first regular settlement of land was 
made in 1876 in which all the land was assessed on the lines of the 
British practice and cash rents were introduced In Khaha area 
more or less all the tenures were similar to Ryatwari System. 

Though all the rules and regulations and peasants rights 
were well defined but the peasant was not free from feudal exploi- 
tation. The first land settlement was made for twenty years. The 
second settlement was carried on in 1899 in which the State 
enhanced the land revenue and it was fixed between 1/2 and 1/5 



170 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


of the gross produce. The third settlement was made in 1922 
which further enhanced the volume of the amount ofJand revenue. 
The number of cesses was not much but the land revenue was 
equally exorbitant. Begar for the State purposes was abolished in 
the settlement of 1899.2 

In fact the peasants were also victims of feudal and colonial 
exploitation but it was not in so crude a form as in the other States 
of Rajasthan. The Jagirdars being few and petty were not much 
powerful economically and socially. The peasant were free from 
social humiliation at the hands of the Jagirdars. The begar system 
was confined within some Jagirs which held not more than 10% of 
land. 


In the State of Alwar any powerful peasant movement could 
not arise because the peasants were satisfied to some extent, 
although it cannot be claimed that there was no peasant movement 
there. The peasant movements of the Alwar Stale may be divided 
into three parts, viz. movement of petty Jagirdars and Rajputs 
1925, the Meo uprising 1932-33 and moderate movement under 
Praja Mandal 1942-47. 


I 

The third land settlement was conducted in 1922 and new 
rates of land revenue were executed in the year 1923-24.2 Upto 
the second settlement caste discrimination was taken into account 
in fixing the land revenue. The Rajputs and Brahmins were 
among the favoured castes who paid less land-revenue in compari- 
son with the other castes. But in the third settlement the caste 
discrimination was abolished. This caused discontentment among 
the Rajputs of both categories, viz. petty Jagirdars and ordinary 
pca'^ant mostly Biswadars. Secondly, under the new settlement 
the rates of land revenue were also increased The Rajput 
Zn'jH’fldar.v and petty Jagirdars of Tehsils Thanagazi and Bansur 
decided that they would not pay the land revenue at the new rates 
and they launched a campaign against it. To mount the pressure 
of R^puts upon the Maharaja several meetings were organised at 
different villages in October 1924 ^ The State ignored all these 
happenings. 



Peasant Movement in Alwar and Bharatpur States 


171 


The leaders of the above campaign decided to seek the 
support from all the Rajput sources and they appealed to the 
Rajputs of Alwar State and also to those living outside. Nearly 
two hundred Rajputs of Alwar had attended the session of the All 
India Kshatriya Mahasabha held at Delhi in January, 1925. They 
submitted their grievances before the Mahasabha and requested it 
to support their cause. ^ In this session they got sympathy and 
encouragement and they accelerated their campaign. 

After the session of the Kshatriya Mahasabha the campaign 
snowfalled into an agitation. The leaders prepared a list of their 
grievances to be put before the Maharaja. Their main demands 
were as follows.^ 

(1) At the time of the last settlement the Rajputs were given 
some privileges in land revenue but now no difference has 
been made and the rates of the land revenue are equal for 
all. Revenue on land holdings of the Rajputs be charged 
at favourable rates as was done in the last settlement and 
enhanced land revenue be reduced. 

(2) Grazing tax be charged only from those whose cattle go to 
pasture in reserve forests. 

(3) New Raondhi (reserve forests for hunting) be not created 
and they should be allowed to kill the wild animals as they 
caused heavy loss to their crops. 

(4) Banjar 'uncultivated) land-> of their area should not be 
auctioned to outsiders. 

(5) The lands donated to temples in Muaji should not be 
confiscated 

The demands M'ere not considered justified by the State, 
so the Rajputs represented before the Agent to the Governor- 
General in Rajpulana. They also decided not to pay the land 
revenue till their demand were conceded. Accordingly, the 
Rajputs stopped the payment of the land revenue. When the 
State authorities sealed their grain in the threshing fields, they took 
away the grain by force,’ 

The Rajputs started collecting swords, spears and guns to 
face any move against them. The Rajputs who had remained 
loyal to the Maharaja all the time, were now annoyed with him. 



172 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


The Rajputs who were the source of power of the Ivlahai-aja before 
the coming of the British, were now neglected. The Rajputs 
decided to fight the injustice impo.scd upon them by the State. 
The State Government took precautionary measures and the 
Prime Minister issued an order on 6th May, 1925 that no person 
or group of persons should move with arms within the juridiction 
of police stations of Thanagazi, Bansur, Narainpur, Malakera, 
Rajgarh and Behror for a period of one month.® The main centre 
of the Rajput agitation became a village, Neemuchana, as its 
Thakur was the main organiser of the movement. In the begin- 
ning of May, 1925 Rajputs in large numbers assembled at 
Neemuchana and stationed there. 

The Maharaja of Alwar appointed a commission to enquire 
into the matter on the spot. The commission reached Neemu- 
chana on 7th May, 1925.9 The said commission proved nothing 
more than an intelligence mission. Though the commission talked 
to the main Rajput leaders but nothing substantive could be done. 
To my mind this commission was meant to enquire into the pre- 
parations of the Rajput assembly at Neemuchana as after 7 days 
the State troops attacked the village instead of considering the 
grievances. 

The Maharaja was leluctant on thi.s issue and he was not in 
favour of any concession due to various reasons. Firstly, the policy 
of appeasement could spread the trouble to other parts also. 
Secondly, the amendment in the land revenue system was not 
possible. Thirdly, the Maharaja was himself in trouble as he was 
not having good relations with the British. On some pretext or the 
other, the British wanted to deprive him of his powers. Fourthly, 
after the withdrawl of the Non- Go -operation Movement in 1922 it 
was the general policy of the British to suppress any type of mass 
uprising by force. KeepinJ' all these factors in view of the govern- 
ment of Alwar decided to suppre.ss the agitation by force. Military 
forces reached Neemuchana on I3th May. 1925 and encircled the 
village and compelled the Thakur to give up the agitation In the 
morning of 14th May, 1925 the military forces opened fire with 
machine guns. The entire village was set on fire and reduced 
to ashes. In this operation nearly 156 men killed and 600 
wounded. 10 



Peasant Movement in Alwar and Bharat pur States 


' 173 

The Neemuchana incident was described by the newspapers 
as Neemuchana Kand and attracted the public attention all over 
India. The Rajasthan Seva Sangh enquired into the matter and 
published the whole story in Taiifn Rajasthan in the issue of 31st 
May, 1925. The Riyasat compared it with the Jallian-Wala Hatya 
Kand.t-^ Thirty nine persons were tried by a special court. The 
proceedings began on 3rd June and on 8th July the special court 
gave its decision. Out of 39 persons under trial 9 were discharged 
and 30 were sentenced to various terms. But by January all the 
convicts were given pardon by the Maharaja. ^2 The families who 
suffered human loss were given Rs. 128/- each from the treasury. 
Their main demand was conceded and orders were issued on 
I8th November, 1925 that land revenue would be charged 
according to the old settlement till the expiry of the settlement of 
1922.13 

On analysis it is apparent that the movement of Neemu- 
chana was not a peasant movement in the true sense. It was the 
result of the contradictions which existed within the feudalism. 
The agitators were not inspired by any national sentiments or 
upheaval. It was an agitation of privileged castes which could not 
spread among other peasants. 

ri 

The Mco peasantry of Alwar Slate came out into open re- 
bellion in the \ear 1932-33. The Meo agitation was widespread 
in area and nature in comparison with the Neemuchana move- 
ment The area inhabited by the Meos is known as Mewat which 
comprised the area of the former princely States of Alwar and 
Bharatpur in Rajasthan and Gurgaon District of former Punjab. 
The Meos, a self-contained semi-tribal community, had formal 
affinity to Islam. They were considered peaceful and haid-woiking 
peasants. The Meos came into lime light in 1921 when under the 
influence of the Non-Co-operation and Khilafat movements they 
revolted. In December 1921 the Meos from Alwar attacked a 
police station in the neighbouring Gurgaon district and had to be 
suppressed through a joint operation by British Indian Police and 
Alwar State troops.14 Though this movement was not widespread 
but it brought the isolated community in the main stream of the 
country. 



174 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


In 1929-30 a global economic crisis engulfed the whole 
world and the European colonies were the worst affected. 
Obviously, the British economic burden directly hit the 
Indian economy In India it affected the lower strata of the 
society, the peasants and workers. In the year 1930 the civil 
Disobedience Movement launched by the Indian National 
Congress paved the way to fight against the colonialism. Gandhi 
initialed the Movement on 12th March, 1930 with his Dandi 
March and provisionally suspended it on 5th March, 1931 due 
to the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. Gandhi attended the Second Round 
Table conference and returned home at the end of 1931 greatly dis- 
appointed and talked of resuming the civil disobedience movement. 
In January 1932 Gandhi and other leaders were arrested and the 
Congress was declared an illegal organisation. The second phase 
of the Civil Disobedience Movement induced much courage 
among the Indian masses. The Meo uprising of 1932 in Alwar 
did not arise as the part of the Civil Disobedience Movement, 
but it was influenced by this great national upheaval. 

The new land revenue settlement enacted in the year 
1923-24 caused discontentment among the peasants. We have seen 
that this was resented by the hiswadars petty Jagirdars in 

the year 1925. The massacre of Neeniuchana created fear in 
the mind of the peasants of other parts of Alwar State. The 
Meos, who constituted a large numerical strength and were con- 
centrated in a certain area, raised the banner of revolt against the 
State. 

Some authors had described it a communal upsurge against 
the Hindus to which the agrarian demands were added later on. 
In fact initially it was an economic struggle of the Meo peasantry 
and some communal leaders did try to give it a communal 
colour. The nature of their main grievances and demands further 
strengthened the view that it was an economic struggle. They 
said that the burden of land revenue and other taxes was very 
high and so it should be brought down to the level of the neigh- 
bouring district of Gurgaon in British India For instance the 
land revenue charged on irrigated land in Gurgaon district was 
Rs. 1-2-0 per bigha, while in the Alwar State it ranged from 
Rs. 8 to Rs. 4.2-0 per bigha.l® For the lands which were acqui- 



Peasant Movement in Ahvar and Bharatpur States 


175 


sitioned for government purpose i.e. for roads, dam etc., compen- 
sation was not paid to the peasants. The Meos compared their 
land revenue system and administration with that of the Gurgaon 
district and demanded parity with that. During famines the 
state of Alwar never gave remission and land revenue suspended 
during the famine years was charged as arrears with the land 
revenue of normal years The famine relief works began by the 
State were not appropriate and the famine-striken people managed 
to survive on their own resources of borrowing. The takavi loans 
sanctioned to the peasants during famine and in abnormal years 
some time caused trouble and harrassment instead of convenience. 
Their demand was that famine relief, suspension and remission 
of land revenue and takavi loans should be governed in the same 
way as in the Gurgaon district. There were many roondhs 
(State’s reserve-forests and hunting forests) within the Meo areas. 
The wild animal of these roondhs caused damage to crops and 
peasants were not allowed to kill them for the protection of their 
crops. They demanded that the number and size of these roondhs 
should be reduced and they might be allowed to kill the wild 
animals. The custom duties levied on export and import of 
cattle was also a grievance of the peasants Though, begar (forced 
labour) was abolished but the government officials continued it 
unofficially. The Meos demanded the abolition of begar which 
was taken for making dams and roads, cutting grass, clearing 
roondhs and during hunting tours of the Maharaja. '6 

The above grievances compelled the Meos to revolt. There 
were also some communal demands which arose during the 
revolt. The Meos were annoyed with the State as they were 
treated inhumanly in 1921, so this time their movement was more 
powerful and they began a guerrilla war The Indian Annual 
Register spo\e of 80-90,000 Meos participating in this revolt 
The Meos of Bharatpur State also joined this and the Meos of the 
Gurgaon district gave all type of help and support to the revolt- 
ing Meos. 

In the begining of 1932 the Meos of the Nizamats (districts) 
ofTijara, Kishangarh. Ramgarh and Lachmangarh refused the 
payment of land revenue of Kharif season as the crops were 
damaged by flood. The Meos feared that the authorities could 
take repressive measures to crush them and they discussed the. 



176 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


matter in their caste panchayat held at various places. This was 
a sponteneous move which not only alarmed the government but 
also agitated the Hindu minds and both thought that the Meo 
moves were directed against them. During these panchayats they 
prepared a long list of their economic and social grievances. 

Here it will be pertinent to explain some communal 
happenings. A Muslim organisation known as Anjuman-i-Kliadini- 
ul-Islam was operating among the Meos of Alwar for social 
upliftment. The said organisation took the task of education and 
opened various makatabsA^ On 2nd May, 1932 the State issued 
a notification that all pi ivate schools whether religious or secular 
should be opened only with the permission of the Government 
and no outsider be employed in these schools without the per- 
mission of the Nazim in the Nizamat concerned.19 In June, 1932 
the State Government promulgated Registration of Societies Act 
under which all the societies loimed befoie or after it were to be 
registered.20 The meos resented the above notification and Act. 
On 22nd July, 1932 the police made a lathi charge upon Muslims 
(mainly Meos) at Jumma Masjid where they had assembled for 
prayer.21 A large number of Meos (nearly 10,000) migrated 
from Alwar stare territory to Bharatpur territory and Gurgaon, 
Hissar. Rewari, Nuch and Ferozepur Jhirka. The migrations 
began on 25th July and continued for a week. About 2500 Meos 
reached Delhi and claimed that they had performed Hijrat as a 
protest against non-removal of their grievances.22 

The above happenings brought the Meo problem to the 
public notice. The Mu.slim organisations such as All India 
Muslim League, Jamat-i-Tabligh-ul-lslam and All India Muslim 
Conference gave wide publicity to the matter thiough press 
statements and representations. Thus, the economic struggle of 
Meos was coloured by communal politics. In addition to the 
economic demands communal demands were also added which 
included the Muslim representation in the Government service 
in proportion of their numerical strength in the Alwar State. 

In the end of 1932 the Movement entered a new phase 
when the Meo leader Choudhary Yashin Khan of Gurgaon took 
over the leadership. He formed a Council of Action to carry on 
the movement systematically. The said Council launched a no- 



Peasant Movement in Alwar and Bharatpur States 


177 


rent campaign in the Mewat area of the Alwar State in November, 
1932, to which the Meos peasantry responded firmly. The Meos 
adopted violent means and used physical force to fight the revenue 
officers and employees. When the Nazim (District Collector) of 
Kishangarh Nizamat was on his way to collect land revenue on 
14th November he was attacked by a group of Meos at Dhamokar 
Village.!3 The Meos blocked the roads and Kutcha passes and 
they made hill bases. Around their main centres groups of 
watchmen were posted with drums. 

The administration of the Alwar State became paralysed 
and it lost complete control over the Mewat area. The moral 
of the Meos was boosted by this success. On 1st December, 1932 
the Maharaja issued a proclamation asking his Meo subjects to 
stop the unlawful activities. He also explained that due to 
economic depression the peasant not only of the Alwar state but 
also of other parts were faced with difficulty in the payment of 
land revenue. He further declared that a scheme of relief was 
under consideration according to which remission would be given 
where considered neressary.24 Accordingly the Maharaja 
appointed a committee to enquire into the agrarian grievances. 
The said committee asked the Meo leaders to appear before the 
committee but they refused.23 

All the above measures taken by State of Alwar failed in 
pacifying the revolting Meos. These measures encouraged the 
Meos as the State’s weakness was exposed. The Meos waged a 
war with the State authorities. They began a guerrilla war on a 
large scale. They collected money, forcibly or willingly, both 
from Hindus and Muslims. Accordingly, the peasants of all the 
castes and religions were compelled by the rebellions not to pay 
land revenue and other taxes with the threats that if they disobeyed 
the orders they would be dealt with severely. The Meos com- 
mitted ■ decoity in the houses of Banias (money lender) on 22nd 
December at Kishangarh.26 A large quantity of fire arms and 
ammunition was collected by the rebellions and they defied the 
state authority. They attacked the custom posts at various 
places and compelled the employees working there to runaway. 
The rebellious Meos entered the reserve forests and killed 
hundreds of wild animals, which was against the laws of the 



178 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


State. 27 In January, 1933 the Meo revolt became wide spread 
and caused panic among the non-Meo population of Mewat. The 
State sent the troops to combat with Meo revolt. The State 
troops could not enter the hilly and thickly forested base of the 
rebellions and they started their operation in the plains of 
Lachmangarh and Govindgarh on the border of Bharatpur State. 
On 7th January, a group of Meo rebels attacked the State troops 
at Govindgarh in Lachmangarh Nizamat and compelled the 
troops to retreat. In this about 40 Meos lost their lives and 
hundreds were wounded.28 The Meo revolt assumed a communal 
colour. The Meos burnt the houses and looted the property. 
Hindus in large numbers ran away for refuse to various neighbour- 
ing places.29 Thus, the economic revolt culminated into a 
communal one. 

The State troops failed in getting control over the Meo 
revolt. In the early stage the British were not worried, but when 
the situation worsened they decided to intervene. Moreover, 
they also' afraid that such type revolt might also occur in the 
Mewat of Punjab. On 9th January the British troops entered 
the disturbed area against the wishes of the Maharaja.20 The 
British forces continued the operation irrespective of Maharaja’s 
non-co-operation. On 1 2th February 1933 the Governor- 
General Willingdon reported the Alwar conditions to be ‘getting 
as bad as they can be.’3l The British compelled the Maharaja to 
appoint British Officers and in March, 1933 an I.G.S. Officer, 
Mr. Wylia, was appointed as Prime Minister with the charge of 
Revenue Ministry.32 

On 15th March, 1933 the State authorities announced 
some concessions to the Meos regarding land revenue and other 
grievances. The military and administrative measures suppressed 
the Meo revolt to some extent by the end of April, 1933. Though 
the administration passed in the hands of the British but 
Maharaja’s presence was considered subversive. Eventually, the 
British decided to pack off the unpopular Maharaja to Europe on 
22nd May 1933, and take over Alwar administration for some 
years.33 In the meantime the British officers issued various orders 
and by the end of 1933 the Meos gave up the revolt and resumed 
their normal work. 



179 


Peasant Movement in Alwar and Bharatpur States 

The Mco revolt awakened the Meo tribe towards their right 
and to some extent they got their grievances redressed. In Rabi 
crop they got 50% remission in land revenue in May, 1933 and one- 
third permanent remission. Cesses like Hunda Bara, Khad Kurcha, 
Parao etc. were abolished. They got the right to use the roondhs 
for pasture and timber purposes and the size of the roondhs were 
gradually reduced by extending agriculture in these. In 1934 the 
administration of the roondhs passed from the forest department 
to the revenue department. 

The above Meo revolt also developed new trends in the 
Meo society. The Meos who were secular in nature became 
rigid Muslims, although some nationalistic and radical elements 
tried to induce progressive ideas among them. In 1947 when 
communal riots occurred the Meos were the worst victim of 
them. It is also interesting to note that of the Muslims who 
migrated to Pakistan from Mewat area the number of Meos was 
negligible. 


Ill 


The peasant movements in the third phase arose under 
the leadership of Alwar Raj Praja Mandal. The Alwar Praja 
Mandal was established in 1938 and raised its voice for a 
responsible government in the State. Its activities remained 
limited to the towns only. The leaders thought that they would 
not be able to achieve their goal without the support of the rural 
masses. It has been already mentioned that the conditions of 
peasants of Alwar were not bad in comparison with those in other 
States of Rajasthan. The incident of Ncemuchana and the Meo 
revolt further reduced the economic burden of peasantry. The 
system of regular survey and settlement of land was in vogue. 
Under these circumstances the Praja Mandal had no particular 
issue to stir up a movement in the rural areas. 


The Praja Mandal leaders took over the issue of Jagirs in 
January 1941. The Jagirdars held only 20% of land in which 
Inamdars. Thankhadars Mtiafidars were also included Most of 
these were not cultivators themselves but they rented it out to the 

2nd June, 1941 the 

Praja Mandal organised a Jagir Muafi Praja Conference at 



180 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

Rajgarh to discuss and highlight the problems of the peasants of 
Jagir and Muaji areas. The same Conference was attended by 
about 500 Kisans. This Conference stressed upon the demands 
that the peasants of Jagir and Muafi areas should be given if/j- 
wadan rights and the land revenue system be executed on the 
fChalsa lines through proper survey and settlements. All cesses 
and begar levied by the Jagirdars and Miiafidars should be 
abolished which was taken mainly from Chamars. Kumhars and 
other servant castcsHl. 

The above Conference organised by the Praja Mandal yield- 
ed adverse results. This was not the move of peasants themselves, 
it was initiated by an organisation which was not much acquainted 
with their problems. The petty Jagirdars and Miiafidars 
ejected the cultivators from their holdings and they managed it 
either by themselves or left the land fallow. Irrespective of the 
regular efforts of Praja Mandal in the matter of Jagir — Muafi 
peasants (he state did not take any action. On 2nd February, 
1946 the Praja Mandal • ailed a meeting at Kheda Mangal S'ngh 
in Rajgarh Tehsil. In the night of 1st February all the leaders 
were arrested. According to the Hindustan Times of 8th February, 
1946 the police arrested 43 persons. Even after the arrests the 
meeting was held and it was attended by one thousand Kisans. 
Eventually the Praja Mandal movement was concentrated in 
Alwar town for the release of the leaders and to raise the cry for a 
responsible government. Jawahar Lai Nehru criticised the arrests 
and appointed Jai Narain Vyas to enquire into the matter. On 
8th February, 1946 (he Praja Mandal observtd 'Daman Virodhi 
Diwas' all over the State and on 1 0th February 1946 all leaders 
were released. 

The above chapter of the peasant agitation closed in 1946 
without any settlement and the State was engulfed by communal 
riots during the year 1947. In March 1948 the powers of the 
Maharaja were seized and the State merged into Matsya Union. 

BHARATPUR STATE 

The conditions of peasants in the State of Bharatpur weie 
better in comparison with the peasants of Alwar State. Here 95% 



Peasant Movement in Alwar and Bharat pur States 181 

of land was under the direct control of the State known as Khalsa. 
The remaining 5% land was occupied by some state grantees includ- 
ing Muafidars. Obviously, there was no problem of Jagirdars, as in 
Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaipur States. The nature of feudal system 
as was to be found in other states did not prevail in Bharatpur. 
The tenants under ihe Jagirdars held the same position as under 
the Khalsa. In the other States of Rajasthan Rajput was a 
privileged caste, but this was not the case in Bharatpur. Some 
have a wrong notion that Jats were a privileged caste in the 
Bharatpur State as the ruling family wasjat. In fact the five 
major castes viz. Brahmin, Jat, Gujar, Ahir and Meos enjoyed 
more or less .'ame status and privileges as the Jats. 

In the Bharatpur State Lamberdari or Patelai system existed 
under which the Lamberdars or Patels (headmen of the villages) 
were responsible for the collection of the land revenue. They 
were entitled for cesses, concessional and rent free lands. 

The peasant movement of Bharatpur State had simil- 
arity with the Alwar movement. Here also the peasant movement 
was divided in three phases viz. sponteneous peasant movement 
under the leadership of Patels and lamberdars, the agitation of the 
Meo peasantry, and movement urdcr the bharatpur Praja 
Parishad and other organisations. 

I 

In the year 1931 a new settlement of land was enforced 
under which the land revenue was 1/3 of the produce. In addi- 
tion to the land revenue Abiana (Irrigation) tax, Ts/lalba, Patwar, 
haq patel etc. cesses also remained in practice. A new tax for the 
public utility services such as education, health, roads etc. was 
imposed which was to be charged at the rate of 3% on the amount 
of land revenue.35 The new settlement created discontentment 
and unrest among the peasants. Without going into details it 
may be said that the worldwide depression also caused hardships 
to the peasantry. The Lambardars and Patels were facing 
difficulty in collecting the land reveue as the peasants were unable 
to pav their dues under new excessive land revenue system 
enforced in 1931. The village headmen who were the part of the 
State authority himself came forward to fight the issue of increase 



182 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


in land revenue. A group of headmen toured various villages to 
mobilize the cultivators for a no-rent campaign to express opposi- 
tion to the new rates of land revenue.3G 

The cultivators submitted various petition early in the 
November of 1931 for reduction of land revenue. When the state 
took no notice nearly 300 peasants from different tehsils assembled 
at Bharatpur on 23rd November, 1931 under the leadership of 
Bhoji Lambardar.^t A meeting was held before the office of the 
State Council which was addressed by Bhoji Lamhardar ■, and he 
urged the peasants not to pay land revenue — neither at the new 
rates nor accoding to the old. He openly called the peasants to 
raise subscription to fight out their cases.38 This provoking 
speech compelled the State to arrest Bhoji Lamhardar. He was 
arrested on 24th November, 1931 and sentenced to 9 months 
imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 25/-.39 

This brought the movement to an end, but the movement 
did succeed in preventing the State from executing the new settle- 
ment for a long time. The movement could not survive because 
it was in the hands of those who were not peasants themselves. 
The liberal policy of appeasement adopted by the State towards 
Lmabardars and Patels was another factor which weakened this 
movement. 


II 

Under the influence of the Meo revolt of Alwar the Meos 
of Bharatpur State also came in direct confrontation with the 
authorities. In the tehsils of Nagar and Pahari adjoining Alwar 
the Meos constituted a major part of the population. They had 
family and clan h'nks with the Meos of Alwar. When the Meos of 
Alwar revolted they got all type of support from the Meos of 
Bharatpur. In March and April, 1933 the State of Alwar granted 
liberal concessions to the Meos. When Alwar State granted many 
concession the Meos of Bharatpur also began to aspire for similar 
concessions. 

The Slate authorities of Bharatpur were vigilant during the 
revolt of the Alwar Meos. The Meo Lambardars of Nagar and 
Pahari were warned by the President of the Bharatpur Council to 



Peasant Movement in Alwar and Bharatpur States 18 J 

keep themselves aloof from that revolt. The President’s warning 
did not prevent them from involving themselves in the affairs of 
the Alwar Meos. Following the firing at Govindgarh on 7th 
January, 1933 the Meos of Nagar and Pahari became turbulent 
as they were much affected by this incident. When the demands 
relating to the Rabi crop were communisated to the villages in 
March 1933, the Nttmberdars (village headmen) of Semla Kalian 
in Nagar and Ladmka and Papra in Pahari along with some 
closely allied villages did not accept the orders issued to them on 
the ground that it was beyond their paying capacity.^O 

The Numberdars of the above villages orgranised Pancbayats 
in other villages in which it was decided that other Meo villages 
should also be asked to withold payment on the pain of ex-com- 
munication and where this threat failed the othre Zamindars 
(peasants) should be intimated. The result had been that the 
majority of villages in Nagar and Pahari refused to pay the land 
revenue. The Meos joined the no-rent campaign willingly but 
other were forced. Since all the Meo Numberdars (who were 
part of the revenue s>stem) were in favour of non-payment of land 
revenue, it was not possible to collect the dues. In fact all the 
non-Mco peasants were also watching this confrontation. They 
knew that in case some concessions were given to these villages 
they would also get the same and this made the non-rent cam- 
paign a wide-spread movement. In a village Jitra Hedi in Nagar 
Tehsil the Gujar Lambardars were beaten by the Meo Lambardars, 
because the former accepted the orders of the demand.^l 

The collection of land revenue in the villages of Nagar and 
Pahari tehsils could not be made. The last date fixed for the 
collection was 31st May and the results upto 27th May 1933 were 
as follows.42 


Tehsils 

Land Revenue 
(in Rs ) 

Realised 
(in Rs.) 

Balance 
(in Rs.) 

Pahari 

Nagar 

94108 

86,957 

21,075 

32,685 

73,033 

54,272 

Total 

1,81,065 

53.760 

1,27.305 

Others Total 

6,61,434 

6,50,218 

11,216 


184 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


The above figures show that the collection of land revenue 
from Pahari and Nagar tehsils was negligible in comparison with 
the other tehsils of Bharalpur. The State in the end granted 
some concessions in custom duties and Abiana tax and the last date 
was extended upto 10th June, 1933. This also did not bring the 
situation under control. 

The State Government included a muslim member in the 
State Council to pacify the Mens. Khan Bahadur Qazi Azizuddin 
Bilgrami, Additional District Magistrate, Agra, joined on the 16th 
June 1933 as the Police and Education Member of the State 
Council of Bharatpur.43 A Council meeting was held on the same 
day at which the whole Meo situation was discussed and an 
ordinance was drawn up in which it was stipulated that any person 
who refused the payment of land revenue or made propaganda 
against the payment of land revenue would be liable to imprison- 
ment.4^ The same translated into Hindi was distributed among 
the disturbed villages. However, this did not improve the 
situation. 

On 19th June, 1933 in the morning the village Semla Kalan 
and the neighbouring village of Jhitraheri were surrounded by 
the two companies of the infantry,^** The Alwar, Bharatpur and 
Gurgaon borders were sealed by the forces which had been 
stationed in the Alwar territory. By the end of July, 1933 the 
revenue was collected by force from the villages of Semla Kalan 
and Jhitraheri and the no-rent campaign was crushed. The said 
forces then entered in the villages of Ladmka and Papra in the 
Pahari Tehsil and by the end of December 1933 the forces 
successfully collected the land revenue. The action of the forces 
terrorised the whole area and the revenue officials were able to 
collect the revenue easily. 

In 1934 a special committee w'as formed under Mr. Bilgrami 
to enquire into the Meo trouble. The said committee presented 
the report and some concessions in addition to land revenue and 
taxes regarding their social and religious grievances were also 
granted. In 1936 the land revenue settlement was to be revised. 
The Agent to Governor-General in Rajputana made the following 
suggestion : “In my opinion it is of the utmost importance that 
when the question is being investigated, special attention should 



Peasant Movement in Ahvar and Bharat pur States 


185 


be paid to the recent revised settlement in the Ahvar state and 
that the revenue rates in Bharatpur should not disolay any marked 
disparity with those in Alwar. Both States have a large Meo 
population closely interconnected by caste and clan ties and any 
striking difference in the treatment of agriculturists in the two 
states is certain to lead to political agitation and agrarian trouble 

in Bharatpur.46 


III 

The agitations of 1931 and 1933 resulted in lessening the 
land revenue and other taxes all ovei Bharatpur Stale. Thus the 
discontentment resulting liom the setiJtment ol 1931 was checked 
and the situation normalised. There was no other major issue to 
build up a peasant agitation. It was only in 194/ that a new 
movement appealed on the scene. 

In January, 1947 a begar virodhi movement was launched 
hy the Bhaiatpur P/aja Paiishad, Lai Jhanda Khan Sablia and 
Muslim Conference. On 4ih January the Governor-Geneial 
Wavell and Bikaner Mahaiaja Sadul Singh reached Bharatpur for 
duck shooting at Keoladeo Ghana (Bird sanctuary). A large 
number of Chaniars, Kalis. Khatiks, Bhangis etc. from the adjoining 
villages were brought for begar to assist the V.l P ’s in their 
hunting game.^’ The Piaja Parishad initiated opposition of the 
above happenings and in a demonstration they raised the slogan 
“Wavell go back”. On 5th January, 1947 the above opposition 
was converted into an anti begar movement and the Lai Jhanda 

jS'nMo and Muslim Conference joined the movement. On 
the same day the leaders sat on Dharna in front of the main gate 
of the Bharatpur fort. The State sent troops under the command 
of Bachchu Singh (younger brother of Maharaja) he beat the 
leaders who were on dharna. No casualty took place but 
prominent leaders like Raj Bahadur Sanwal Prasad Choube and 
his wife, Munshi AH Muhammad and Mukut Bihari were badly 
wounded 

On 6lh January 1947 the agitating bodies organised begar 
virodhi diwas all over the State. To defame the movement the 
govcinniert supporters looted Kumher and Uchchain towns. The 
same day Ramesh Swami of Bhusawar was killed by a thanedar by 



186 


Peasant Movement in Rajasthan 


running a bus over him. This movement continued upto 
September 1947 and was withdrawn by th^Praja Parishad as the 
process of integration of Bharatpur State was started. On 18th 
March 1948 the State of Bharatpur merged into the Matsya 
Union. 


It may be concluded the peasant movement in the States 
of Bharatpur and Alwar arose very late but proved very powerful. 
The Meos who were semi-tribal people came out of the age-old 
darkness. These movements provided a base for the movement 
for a responsible government in both the States. An upshot of 
these radical movements was that both the States were among he 
first ones to become free from Feudal and colonial rule in 
Rajasthan. 


REFERENCES 

1. Assessment Report of Alwar State, 1899, p. 41. 

2. Ibid., p. 76. 

3. The enhancement of land revenue was very high. The 
total amount of land revenue was fixed Rs. 20,19,777/- in 
in 1876 and Rs. 20,73,487/- in 1899 while it reached upto 
Rs. 29,39,112/- in 1922. 

4. Rajasthan State Archives Branch Alwar, Judicials Record, 
File No. 315-JI23, 1925. 

5. Ibid. 

6. Ibid. 

7. Ibid. 

8. Ibid., letter dated 6th May, 1925 From Prime Minister to 
Judicial Minister. 

9. Ibid. 

10. S. Sarkar, Op. Cit., p. 241. 

11. The Riyasat, 14th January, 1926. 



Peasant Movement in Alwar and Bharatpur States 


;187 


12. Rajasthan State Archives Branch Alwar, Judicial Record, 
F. No. 315=JI23, 1925. 

\3. Ibid. 

14. S. Sarkar, Op. Cit-. 'p. 2li- 

15. The Eastern Times, 27th October, 1932. 

16. Ibid., and National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign & 
Political Deptt., File No. 743-p {Secret) 1933. 

17. Sumit Sarkar, Op. Cit., p. 324. 

18. Rajasthan State Archives Bikaner, Alwar confidential Record, 
File No. 14491 F-23, 1932. 

19. The Alwar State Gazette, dated 2nd May, 1932, 

20. Ibid, 16th June, 1932. 

21. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign & Political 
Department, File No. 743-P {Secret), 1933, 

22. The Hindustan Times, 28th July, 1932. 

23. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign and Political 
Deptt., File No. 743-P {Secret), 1933. 

24. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Alwar confidential Record, 
File No. 1449! F-23, 1932. 

25. The Bombay Chronicle, 15th December, 1932. 

26. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Home Political Deptt., 
File No. 4313133, Pol. Part-I. 

27. Ibid. 

28. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Alwar confidential 
Record, File No. 1449! F-23, 1933. 

29. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign & Political 
Deptt. File No. 143-P {Secret) 1933. 

30. Ibid., Home-Political Deptt. Pile No. 4313/33-P. Part I. 

31. Ibid. 

32. Ibid. 

33. Ibid., Part II, and Sumit Sarkar, Op. Cit., p. 324. The 
Maharaja Jai Singh remained in exile in Europe and died 
at Paris in May, 1937. 

34. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Alwar Praja Mandal 
Record, File No. 6, 1941. 



J 88 Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

35. Report on land Revenue Assessment of the Bharatpur Tehsil, 
1931, pp. 35-42. 

36. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, Bharatpur confidential 
Record, File No. 63-A, Pad No. 5, 1931. 

37. Ibid. 

38. Ibid. 

39. ' Ibid., File No. 21, Pad No. 5, 1932. 

40. National Archives of India, New Delhi, Foreign & Political 
Deptt. Pile No. 285-P (Secret), 1933. 

41. Ibid. 

42. Ibid. 

43. Ibid. 

44. Bharatpur Raj Patra (Gazettes), 17th June, 1933. 

45. National Archives of India, New Delhi. Foreign and Political 
Deptt. File No. 285-P (Seciet), 1933. 

46. Ibid., File No. 594, 1935. 

47. Yugal Kishore Chaturvedi. Rastriya Andolan ^Men Matsya 
Khetra ki Bhumika aur Uska Yogdan, 1986. 

Ibid. 


48. 



9 


CONCLUSION 


The British paramountcy in Rajasthan brought some histori- 
cal changes. The Rajasthani rulers who had been subordinates 
to the Mughals or semi-autonomous became puppets in the hands 
of the British. They discarded their responsibiliy towards the 
masses and became responsible to their British masters. 

It is a well known fact that imperialism can only thrive 
alongside feudalism. The British on the one hand destroyed the 
Indian traditional feudal order and, on the other, feudalism was 
protected m a changed shape which can be explained as semi- 
feudalism. But in Rajasthan the medieval feudal system was 
maintained in its crude form. The Rajasthani rulers and Jagirdars 
tried their best to appease the British as their very existence was 
due to them. They looted their masses to fulfil their obligations to 
their imperial masters and to satisfy their extravagancy. Since 
land revenue was the main source of their income, the peasant 
became the prime victim of the imperial and feudal alliance. 

The tribals and peasants had resisted the new system ever 
since the establishment of the British paramountcy. The Bhils 
were the first to rebel against feudal and imperial order. In 1818, 
and again in the years 1881-1883 the Bhils of Udaipur revolted for 
their forest and land rights. These revolts of ignorant tribals were 
crushed by the authorities. 

The tribal revolts of late 19th century were a source of 
inspiration to them. In the beginning of the 20th century a social 
reform movement was launched by Govindgir among the Bhils of 
Dungarpur and Banswara Stales. In the course of time this social 



190 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


reform movement culminated into a powerful revolt. The Bhil 
revolt under the leadership of Govindgir was crushed by the 
British with the help of military forces. Though the revolt failed 
but it left a deep impact. The Bhils came out of the age-old 
darkness. Not only this but the Bhils also achieved their tradi- 
tional forest rights to some extent. This revolt became a prime 
source of inspiration to the downtrodden classes. The revolt also 
became the base of peasant movement and freedom struggle in 
Rajasthan. 

In the history of the peasant movements in Rajasthan the 
Bijolia (Udaipur State) movement was the first organised move- 
ment. The peasant movement of Bijolia arose under the spell and 
in the wake of social reforms, and caste panchayat played an 
important role in the early phase of this movement. The Dhakar 
(Caste) peasants of Bijolia in the efforts for social reforms reached 
the conclusion that the main cause of their backwardness was the 
prevailing socio-economic system. They were deprived of the 
land rights by the Jagirdars. The burden of land revenue and 
cesses {Lag-bag) W'as very heavy. The intensity of the peasants 
burden can be gauzed from the fact that they were deprived of 
87% of their gross produce. Apart from the economic burden the 
peasants were also forced to perform begar. The peasants were 
suffering severely under excessive feudal exploitation. This move- 
ment can be divided into three phases. In its first phase, from 
189'^--1915, it was a sponteneous movement, while in its second 
phase between 1915-1923 the movement reached its climax. The 
caste panchayat which guided the movement during first phase 
culminated into a peasant organisation known as Kisan Panchayat 
during the second phase. The leaders tried their best to get the 
support of the Indian National Congress but the Congress did not 
extend its support. But the movement was so militant that the 
peasants succeeded in getting some grievances redressed under the 
agreement of 1922. 

The agreement concluded between Kisan Panchayat and 
Bijolia thakur in 1922 could not be implemented upto 1923 due to 
the devious methods adopted by the thakur. But the second phase 
was so powerful that it engulfed the whole of Udaipur State and 
some parts of the surrounding States. However, by 1927 the 



Conclusion 


191 


movement was crushed with the help of military forces. Then the 
peasants adopted a passive method of protest and they surrendered 
their holdings to the thikana. 

The peasants were of the view that their surrundered land 
would be a problem for the thikana. Though the thikana tried to 
allot the surrendered lands to other peasants on concessional rates 
but could not succeed. However, by the end of 1930 about 8,000 
bigha of surrendered land was allotted by the thikana to the 
Maharajans who were mainly money-lenders. 

The impact of the Bijolia movement was Rajasthan-wide 
but after 1930 the movement got weakened due to differences 
among the leaders. After 1930 the main object of the movement 
was to get the surrendered land back. The movement could not 
attain its ultimate goal but it did pUy an important role in infusing 
anti-feudal consciousness among the peasants of Rajasthan. 

Under the influence of the peasant uprisings of Bijolia, 
Begun and the Khalsa area of Udaipur State the Bhils also arose 
under the leadership of Motilal Tejawat. This movement was also 
influenced by the Non-Cooperation Movement launched by the 
Indian National Congress. The tribals of Udaipur and Sirohi 
states remained turbulent during 1921-23. This movement was 
not owned by the Indian National Congress due to its class 
character. Although this movement could not be integrated in the 
national movement, yet it strengthened the national cause. 

Rajasthan Seva Sangh's activities and the Bijolia movement 
inspired the mass movement in Jodhpur State. The peasant 
movement of Jodhpur State arose in a different manner as com- 
pared to the other movements. In most of the States of 
Rajasthan the peasants arose sponteneously or organised themselves. 
But in Jodhpur State the urban and educated modern middle 
class elements organised the peasant movement. 

In 1920 an organisation known as Manvar Seva Sangh came 
into being which remained active upto 1922. In 1923 Marwar 
Hitkarni Sabha was constituted which was simply Marwar Seva 
Sangh functioning under a new name to confuse the State authori- 
ties. During 1923-24 the Sabha remained active in the rural areas 
and widen its social base. The growing popularity of the Sabha 



192 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


alarmed the Slate authorities and an organisation known as Raj 
Bhakta Desk Hitkarni Sabha came into being in 1924 with the 
support of State. 

The Marwar Hitkarni Sabha launched a peasant agitatioxi 
between 1925-1931 but it did not achieve much success. It took 
up the issues of land rights, heavy land revenue, To’g-lSfffg, 
etc. These issues agitated the peasant masses and created anti- 
feudal consciousness among them. In 1938 the Marwar Lok 
Parishad was established in which a sizable number of rural ele- 
ment was included. The Parishad launched a peasant movement 
with great vigour. In addition to the State machinery the 
Jagirdars Association attacked the Parishad. In 1941 the State 
attlhorities also succeeded in establishing Marwar Khan Sabha with 
the help of Baldeo Ram Mirdha, a police officer. The Kisan Sabha 
appealed to the peasants not to support the Marwar Lok Parishad. 
But by this time the Parishad had firmly established itself as a real 
mass organisation. The situation compelled the Kisan Sabha to co- 
operate with the Lok Parishad and during 1946-1948 both the 
organisations launched a joint movement. In 1948 both the 
organisations formed a popular interim government and the 
Marwar Tenancy Act was passed in which the peasants were given 
occupancy rights. 

The conditions of peasants were much worse in Jagir areas 
in comparison with those in the Khalsa. In Shekhawati area of 
Jaipur State the whole of the land was under the pos.se.csion of 
Jagirdars. The Shekhawati peasant movement began in 1921 and 
continued up to 1940, which was a unique achievement. 

Most of the leading Marwari capitalists such as Birlas, 
Dalmias, Taparias, Modis, Todis, Poddars etc. belonged to the 
Shekhawati area. They had money but in the feudal dominated 
area of Shekhawati their position was very low. They wanted to 
buildup their political and social base in the region. The Chirawa 
Seva Samiti was an organisation supported by the capitalists and 
through it they were reaching the peasantry. The Samiti launched 
an agitation in 1921 which was crushed by /ftr/a of Khetri. In 
fact, this movement was not an agrarian movement but it created 
a new consciousness among the peasants. The capitalists of 



Conclusion 


193 


Shekhawati were in the background of the peasant movement of 
the region. 

The peasant movements which arose in different areas of 
Shekhawati during 1923-33 were sponteneous and unorganised. 
In February 1934 the Jat cultivators who were in the majority 
held a Mahayagya in Sikar to unite all the scattered movements. 
During the years 1934-35 the peasant movement in Shekhawati 
was in full vigour which alarmed the Jagirdars. The Jagirdars 
took exception of it and a series of attacks were let loose upon the 
peasants through their hirelings. By the end of 1936 the peasants 
got their grievances reduced to some extent. 

The peasant movement of Shekhawati prepared the ground 
for the Praja Mandal movement in Jaipur State. Though the 
Praja Mandal weakened the peasant movements but it became a 
real mass movement against feudal and colonial rule. 

Some isolated peasant agitations were also witnessed in the 
Nizamats of Hindaun and Torawati of Jaipur Slate in 1939 under 
the leadership of Praja Mandal activists. Another movement was 
that of the Bairwa Cultivators which was launched in 1946 in 
Uniara thikana by the All India State People Bairwa Mahasabha. 

In the history of the peasant movements of Rajasthan the 
peasant movement in Alwar and Bharatpur States have an impor- 
tant place. In 1925 the Rajput cultivators of Neemuchana protes- 
ted against the enhancement of land revenue, but their protest was 
crushed with the help of army by the authorities of Alw’ar State. 
The above action of the State created terror among the peasantry. 

The Meo peasantry of Alwar Stale came into open rebellion 
in the year 1932-33; the movement got a communal colour later 
on. It was also put down by the army. 

During 1938-1947 some isolated peasant agitations were 
launched by the Alwar Praja Mandal. There were directed against 
the Jagirdars, Lnandars, Muajidars etc. Their main demands were 
related to land rights for the peasantry. On 2nd February 1946 
a public meeting was called by the Praja Mandal leaders at Kheda 
Mangal Singh, a village in Rajgarh Tehsil. All the leaders were 
arrested on 1st Februaiy by the State Police. After this incident 
the movement got confined to Alwar town W'ith the release of its 
leaders as its main demand. 



194 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


The conditions of the peasantry were better jn the State of 
Bharatpur in comparison with those obtaining in the other states 
of Rajasthan. 95% of land was under the area. In 1931 
the new land settlement created trouble for peasants and inter- 
mediaries. The Patels and Lumbardars who were responsible for 
the collection of land revenue faced problems in collecting land 
revenue on increased rates of 1931. They themselves instigated 
the peasants not to pay the land revenue. The State authorities 
adopted the policy of appeasement towards the Patels and 
Lumbardars. Obviously, the movement came to an end. 

Under the influence of the Meo revolts in Alwar State, the 
Meos of Bharatpur also arose in 1932. This was also an agrarian 
movement and like the Alwar movement, this too took a commu- 
nal colour. To satisfy the Meos the State Government included a 
Muslim member in the State Council on 16th June, 1933. But 
this did not improve the situation. On 19th June, 1933 military 
operations began in the troubled villages. By the end of 1933 the 
forces not only crushed the movement but land revenue due from 
the Meo peasants was also collected. In 1934 a special committee 
was formed under qazi Azizuddin Bilgrami (Member of State 
Council) to enquire into the Meo grievances. 

The peasant agitations of 1931 and 1933 influenced the land 
revenue policy of Bharatpur State. In the settlement of 1936 the 
peasant’s grievances were taken into consideration. Obviously, 
there was no major issue left for a new peasant movement. In 
January 1947 the Bharatpur Praja Parishad launched begar Virodhi 
movement. On 4th January, 1947 the Governor-General Wavell 
and Bikaner Maharaja Sadul Singh reached Bharatpur for hunting. 
A large number of people were brought on begar to assist them. 
People protested against this and “Wavell. go back” slogan was 
raised by the Praja Parishad. This incident gave birth to a State- 
wide beggar virodhi movement which was later joined by Lai 
Jhanda Kisan Sabha and Muslim conference. This movement 
continued upto September, 1947. 

The peasant movements in Rajasthan during 1931-38 were 
in full swing. This was the period when the British India 
witnessed no major mass movement. Rajasthan remained the 
centre of anti-feudal movements during 1920-1938. Though these 



Conclusion 


195 


movements were not directly linked with the national organisations 
but these were influenced by them. The Indian National Congress 
did not own these movements. It was only in 1938 that the 
Congress supported the freedom movement of the princely states. 

The peasant movements in Rajasthan were mostly spont- 
eneous but in due course they developed into highly organised 
movements. They also paved the way for the freedom struggle in 
Rajasthan and threw an open challenge to the centuries old feuda- 
lism, thereby also providing a base for the much needed social 
reforms. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 


I Archival Sources 

1. National Archives of India, New Delhi. 

( i ) Foreign Department. 

( ii ) Foreign and Political Department. 

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( iv ) Department of States. 

( V ) Home Department. 

( vi ) Home Political Department. 

(vii ) Revenue and Agriculture Department, 
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( ix ) Rajputana Agency Records. 

( x) Poona Residency Correspondence. 

2. Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner. 

( i ) Udaipur Confidential Records. 

( ii ) Jodhpur Confidential Records. 

( iii ) Jodhpur Administration Records. 

( iv ) Jaipur Revenue Records. 

( v) Jaipur Judicial Records. 

( vi ) Alwar Confidential Records. 

(vii ) Alwar Praja Mandal Records. 

(viii) Bharatpur Confidential Records. 

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( i ) Mahakma Khas Records. 

( ii ) Revenue Records. 

( iii ) Praja Mandal Records. 

4. Rajasthan State Archives, Branch Jodhpur. 

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Bibliography 


197 


5. Rajasthan State Archives, Branch Jaipur. 

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( iii 1 Lag-Bags (Cesses) Records 
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( V ) Jagir Records. 

( vi ) Jagir settlement Records. 

(vii ) Famine Records. 

(viii) Deposited Papers of Revenue Department. 

6. Rajasthan State Archives, Branch Alwar. 

( i ) Judicial Records. 

11 Contemporary Published Material 

1. Imperial Gazetteer, Yo\. I-XXXI. 

2. Census of Rajasthan, 1881-1961. 

3. Repo't on the Administration of Rajasthan, 1950-51 

4. Report on the Administration of Rajputana, 1873-74. 

5. Jodhpur State's Custom Circular No. 8, 29th Oct 1923. 

6. Report on the Administration of Marwar, 1923-24. 

7. Fmal Report on the Settlement Operations of the Khaisa. 
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8. Sajjan Sudha Kirti 

9. Marwar Gazette-Jadhpur Government Gazette. 

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11. Alwar State Gazette. 

12. Rajputana Gazetteer, Vol. I-III. 

1 3. The Marwar Lok Parishad Bulletins. 

14. Jodhpur Andolan Ki Haqikat (A Booklet). 

15. Marwar Kisan Sabha Bulletins. 

16. Assessment Report of Alwar State, 1899. 

17 Land Revenue Assessment of the Bharat pur Tehsil, 1931. 

18. Bharatpur Raj Fatra (Gazate). 

Ill Contemporary News Papers 

1 The Hindustan Times. Bombay. 

2. The Times of India. Delhi. 

3. Bombay Chronicle, Bombay. 



198 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 


4. The Eastern Times, Delhi. 

5. The Princely India, Ajmer. 

6. Young India, Ahmedabad. 

7. Harijan, Ahmedabad. 

8. Tarun Rajasthan, Ajmer. 

9. Deenbandhu, Kota. 

10. Lokyuddha, Bikaner. 

11. Praja iSeivafc, Jodhpur. 

12. Pratap, Kanpur. 

13. Arjun, Delhi. 

14. Lokvani, Jaipur. 

IV Research Journals 

1. Indian History Congress — Proceeding vois. 

2. Rajasthan History Congress — Proceeding vols. 

3. Economic and Political Weekly, Bombay. 

4. Journal of Peasant Studies, London. 

5. The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Delhi. 

6. Indian Historical Re\iew, New Delhi. 

7. Social Scientist, Trivendaram. 

8. Social Action, New Delhi. 

9. Political Science Review, Jaipur. 

10. Rajya Shastra Samiksha (Hindi), Jaipur. 

1 1 . Jijnasa, Jaipur. 

12. Shodh Patrika (Hindi), Udaipur. 

13. Shodhak, Ja]pvr. 

14. Journal of Rajasthan Institute of Historical Research, Jaipur. 

V Books in English 

Barton, William : The Princes of India, London, 1930. 

Bhargava, B. K. : Indian Peasant Proprietorship, Borahay, 

1936. 

Bhatfacharya, S. : The Rajput States and the East India 

Company, New Delhi, 1972. 

Ghand, Tara : History of the Freedom Movement in 

India, Vols. I, II, III, & IV, New 
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200 


Feasant Movements in Rajasthan 


Fraser, H.L. 

Gandhi, M.K. 
Gandhi, M.K, 

Gangulee, N. 
Gangulec, N. 

Habib, Irfan 

Hobsbawn, E. J. (Ed) 
Joshi, P.C. 

Kishan, P. 

Kotousky, G. 
Levakovasky, A. I. 
Malviya, H.D. 

Menon, V.P. 

Metcalj, T.R. 

Mathur, S. 

Misra, B.B. 

Namboodripad, E.M.S. 
Pande, R. 

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: The Indian States Problem, Ahmedabad, 
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193o. 

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1964. 

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Roy, M.N. 
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Sharma, B.K. 
Sharma, G.N. 
Sen, Sunil 
Siddiqi, M.H. 
Singh, Dool 
Singh, Laxman 

Sisson, Richard 
Slock, E. 

Tod, James 
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202 


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VI Boo&s in Hindi 

Ghoudhary, R.N. : Hamara Vartman Rajasthan, Ajmer, 

1968. 

Ghoudhary, R.N. : Adhunik Rajasthan Ka Utthan. Ajmer, 

1974. 

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Jodhpur, 1971. 



INDEX 


Abiana (Irrigation) tax, 181 
Abnormal years (Famine), 72,75 
Accused persons, 52-53, 59, 110, 
115, 128 

Activities of Govindgir, 22, 23, 27, 
33, 49, 61, 66, 189 
— ^Panchayats, 58, 87, 100, 136 
— Rajasthan Sewa Sangh 191-92 
Agrarian struggle, 23, 26, 29, 71 
Agreement with Bhils, 30-32 
Agriculture, 12, 16, 23, 26, 29, 36 
Aims of Congress, 87 
Akbar, 6, 27 
Akbari policy, 27 
Akhada Institution, 43 
Ala-Uddm Khilji, 6 
All India Kshatriya Mahasabha, 
171 

All India State People Bairwa 
Mahasabha, 136, 193 
All-India State People’s Confere- 
nce, 151 

Allison, F. W., 57, 58 
Alwar Raj Praja Mandal, 150, 179, 
193 

Anjuman-i-Khadim-ul-Islam, 176 
Ankbandi system, 13, 48, 55 
Antaldas, 59, 65 

Anti-Begar movement, 43, 47, 74, 
87, 123, 185, 194 

Annual expenditure of Sikar, 126 
— function, 99 


— income of Sikar, 125 
— rainfall, 4-5 
Anti-cess movement, 155 
Assembly of Bhils, 34, 66, 108, 112 
Arrest of Chandra Bhan, 128 
— Tejawat, 110, 115 
Assessment of land tenure, 15-17, 
27, 72 

Aurangzeb, 7 
Babar, 6 

Bairwa Mahasabha, 136 
Bajaj, Jamna Lai, 103 
Bamri Patel, 62 
Basant Panchamani, 128 
Batai system, 15, 16 
Began Virodbi movement, 43, 47, 
74, 87, 124, 185, 194 
Beggar problems, 74, 87, 124, 185 
Bharatpur Praja Parishad, 185, 194 
Bhil Movement under Govindgir, 
19-20 22-30, 66, 108-16, 189 
‘Bhil Raj’, 35, 66 
Bhoop Singh, 79 
Bhumat administrative unit. 111 
Bhumias (Bhum tenure), 15 
Bhupal Singh, 98 
Bijolia agitation, 74,79,91,101 
Bijolia Kisan Panchayat, 81 
Bijolia peasant movement: Phases, 
71, 72, 74, 79, 101 
Biswadari rights, 12, 13, 119 



204 

‘Bolshevik’ revolution, 86, 100 
Booklets : ‘Marwar-ki-Awastha’, 
147 

— ‘Popa-Bai-ki-Pol’, 147 
Bose, Ras Bihari, 79 
British administration, 29, 39 
— Empire in India, 29, 39, 58 
— ^Paramountancy in Rajasthan, 
8-9, 39 

Broach disturbance, 60 

Carnduff, J, 60 
‘Caste Panchayats’ 96, 132 
Causes of agitation, 84, 98, 102 
Census of 1931, 123 
Chandawal Tragedy 1942, 161-62 
Chandra Bhan Singh, 128, 130 
Chanwari cess, 76 
Chaterji, Prabhash Chandra, 91 
Chaterof demands, 129-30 
Chartist case, 61 
Chirawa Sewa Samiti, 125, 192 
Choudhary, Chhotu Ram, 163 
Choudhary, Ram Narain, 91, 98 
Choudhary, Yashin Khan, 176 
Chouri-Choura incident, 100 
Civil Disobediance movement, 174 
Civil officers, 20, 59, 101 
Code of Criminal Procedure, 57, 
59, 60 

Collessment of land revenue, 15-17 
Commercial crops, 1 6 
Communal disputes, 91, 136, 172 
Concessions by Maharao of Sirohi, 
114-15 

Concessions in Chanwari cess, 
76-77 

Conditional resignation of 
peasants, 102-104 
Congress Session, 83 

Dadupanthi Sadhus, 119 
Darbar Criminal Courts, 28 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

Dashmani Panth, '^6 
Demands of peasants, 8 1 -84,86-87, 
129-30 

Desai, Mahadev, 89 
Dhakar, Gangaram, 74 
Dhakar Panchayat, 83 
Disposal of property, 57-67 
Dungri Girassia Bhils, 30 

Early movement, 19-22, 48, 82 
East India Company, 8, 20 
Economic-political movement, 
24-25 

Education Reforms Committee, 
154 

Eki (Unity) movement, 109, 114, 
142 

English Legal system, 21 
Enquiry Commission, 82-83, 85, 
88 

Famine report of Rajputana, 3,10, 
72,75 

Field, D. M. (Col), 153 
Forced labour, 27, 29, 32, 67, 122, 
123, 130 

Forest administration, 26, 48, 93 
Freedom Movement, 88-89 
Freedom struggle of 1857, 20, 21, 
67, 88-89, 104, 195 
French Military adventure, 8 

‘Gair Kanooni Lagan’, 1 55 
Gametis (Bhil Chief), 20,22,51, 
54 

Gandhi-Irwin pact, 148, 174 
Gandhi, M. K,. 83, 86, 87, 88, 89, 
103, no, 113, 124 
Geographical environment, 2-3, 
26,58,62, 101, 163 
Glancy, R. L., 126, 1 ’7 
Gosains (hermits), 46-48 
Gough, HKA (Major), 57, 58 



Index 


205 


Government Agencies, 152-53 
Govindgir, 22, 23, 27, 49, 61, 66, 
189 

Govindgir’s movement, 33-36, 49, 
61, 66,180, 183 
Greater Rajasthan, 1 
Grievances of Bhils, 38-42 
Gulab Chand Hamir Chand, 4t 
Gulab Khan, 31, 65 
Gul Mohammed, 34, 51, 52, 55, 56, 
65 

Guru Mantra, 44, 47 

Hamilton (Major), 50 
Hastings, Lord, 9 
Heaton, J, 60 

High-Power Committee, 91 
History of Bhil movement, 49-51 
— peasant movement, 190 
—Rajasthan, 6-8 
Historical Congress, session, 86 
Holland, Robert, 91 
House of Commons, 127 

Ill-treatment with Bhils, 28, 29 
Ijara system, 13, 48, 82 
Imperial Gazetter of India, 4, 8, 
10, 17 

Imprisonment, 55, 110, 115 
Inam (Revenue free grant), 15 
Indian National Congress, 83, 87, 
89, 96. 103, 116, 125, 142, 151, 
174, 190, 19 1 

Indian War of Independence, 80 
Integration of Rajasthan States, 
1,3,8 

Jagirdars, 17, 27, 29, 81 
Jagir, 14-15, 29, 85 
Jagir Committee, 154, 168 
Jagir Muafi Praja Conference, 179, 
180 

,Jai Govind Maharaj’, 52 


‘Jai Guru Govindji’, 52 
Jail facilities, 85 
Jaipur Armed Police, 131 
Jaipur Raj Praja Mandal, 118, 135 
Jallian-Wala-Hatya-Kand, 173 
Jat Krishak Sudharak Sabha, 159 
Jat Mahasabha, 128 
— peasants, 96, 97 
Jodhpur Praja Mandal, 150 
Joint movement : Marwar Lok 
Sabha & Marwar Kisan Sabha 
1946-1948, 164-65 
Judgement by judges, 49-55 

Kabir (Hindu poet), 47 
Kachhawah, Mangal Singh, 158 
‘Kaliyuga’ (Iron age), 43 
‘Kanya Chon’ (Bride tax), 30 
Kaushik, Bihari Lai, 91 
Khalsa system, 17, 71 
Kisan agitation, 98, 115, 156 
— andolan, 97, 115, 156 
— Panchayat, 190 
— Panchayat Board, 81, 84, 86 
— Sammelan, 97, 190 
Kothari, Manila], 113 

Lag-bags (cesses), 72, 73, 87, 150, 
154, 159, 162, 190 
Lai Jhanda Kisan Sabha, 185 
Land revenue assessment, 26 
— revenue System, 12, 17 
— tenures in Jagirs, 1 5 
— tenures in Khalsa, 12 
Location of Rajasthan, 2-3 
Limitations of PES, 88-91 

Maharana Pratap Singh, 40 
Makrana marble, 5 
Malviya, Madan Mohan, 83, 86, 
112, 137 

Malviya, Rama Kant, 84, 112, 113 
Mangarh hills, 34, 36, 43, 56, 65 



206 

Marwari capitalists, 192 
Marwar Hitkari Sabha, 143-48, 
150, 151, 158, 192 
Marwar State People’s Conference 
1931, 149-50 

Marwar Tenancy Act, 165 
Marwar Youth League, 150 
Mathur, Mathura Das, 155, 156 
Matrikundia fair, 97 
Matsya Union, 1, 180 
Mayne, 60, 61 
Metcalf, Charles, 9 
Mehta, Takhat Singh, 84 
Meyo revolt, 176-79 
Military officers, 48, 98, 

Minerals of Rajasthan, 5-6 
Mirdha, Baldeo Ram, 158, 163, 
192 

Moti Chand, 91 

Movements in Thikanas, 97-101 
Movement under Marwar Hitkarni 
Sabha, 143-48, 163 
Movement under Marwar Kisan 
Sabha, 162-65, 192 
Movement under Marwar Lok 
Parisbad, 150-61, 192 
Muamla system, 15 
Mughal regime in Rajasthan, 6, 7 
Muhammadans, 45, 46, 185 
Mukhtyars, 44, 45 
Muslim Conference, 1 85 

Namboodripad, E.M.S,, 88 
Narain Patel, 91 
Navyuwal Mandal, 99 
Neemuchana incident, 173 
Nehru, Jawaharlal, 151, 180 
Non-Cooperation Movement, 86, 
89, 96, 100, 102, 108, 110, 113, 
116, 125, 172, 191 
Non-Khalsa area, 71 
‘No-rent movement’, 101, 131 

Objects of People’s Service Socie- 
ty, 87-95 


Peasant Movements in Rajasthan 

Ogalvi, Col., 91 

Pahi Pahi Kashats, 14 
Panchayat Patrika, 136 
Partabgarh Fort, 39, 51, 53 
Pathik, Vijay Singh, 72, 79, 80, 81, 
82, 83, 87, 89, 96, 98, 110 
Peasant agitations, 101, 125-37 
— in Jaipur, 1 1 8-25, 1 37 
— Khalsa area, 95-97, 141, 143 
— Alwar, 169-80 
— ^Begun, 100-101 
— ^Bharatpur, 180-86 
— ^Bijolia, 190 
— Jodhpur, 141-43 
—Rajasthan, 11, 67, 71, 194-95 
— Udaipur State, 7 1 
Peasantry in Rajasthan, 11-12, 17 
Penal Code of Law, 54, 55, 56, 57, 
65 

Physical features of Rajasthan, 3-5 
Political Agent, 20, 29, 35, 50, 59, 

' 63, 64, 171 

— background of Rajasthan, 6-8 
— Officers, 53, 63 
Population of Bhils, 27, 71 
Praja Mandal, 104, 137 
Pratap Singh, 56 
Prathi Singh, 32, 77 
Preachings of Tejawat, 109-114 
Prescott, 60 
Protector of Truth, 37 

Quazi, Aziz Uddin, 184 

Rajasthan Sewa Sangh, 83, 89, 96, 
98,113,114, 126, 146, 192 
Rajasthan State’s Reorganisation 
Act, 1956, I 

Raj Bhakta Desh Hitkarni Sabha, 
192 

Rajputana Jat Sabha, 132 
Rajputana-Madbyabharat Sabha,97 
Rajput-Jat relations. 132 



Index 


207 


Rana Sanga, 6 

Rao Kishan Singh, 77, 133, 136 
Rao Raja of Sikar, 126 
Reforms by Rao Raja of Sikar, 
130-31 

— movement, 35 
Removal of flags, 30 
Rewakantha Agency, 58 
Rewakantha (Political agent), 35, 
51, 65 

Rigorous imprisonment, 55, 58, 
66 

Ring-leaders, 32 
Russian Revolution, 90, 100 
Ryotwari system, 13-14 

Sadul Singh (Bikaner Maharaja), 
185 

Sambhar Lake, 4 
‘Samp Sabha’, 24 
Sandy semi-desert, 3-4 
Sarraf, Bhanwar Lai, 147, 148 
Satyagrah, 82, 98, 125 
Satya Bhakta, 113 
Savarkar, G. D., 60 
Saxena, S. S., 104, 105, 106 
Secon Sammelan II, 97 
Sedition Act, 142 
Sharda, Chand Karan, 149 
Shekhawati Jat Kisan Panchayat, 
134, 136 

Shekhawati Jat Sabha, 127 
Shekhawati Kisan Andolan, 118 
Shyamaldas, 22, 68 
Siksha Mandal of Shekhawati, 
132 

Sisodia, Kalusinghji, 32 
Sitaram Das (Sadhu), 79, 80, 82 
Social development, 2 
Social discrimination, 123 
Social-religious movement, 29-30, 
33 


Sponteneous peasant movement, 
148-49 

Subegujars of Istamarardars, 15 
Sunth Jail, 56 

Surana, Anand Raj, 147, 148 
Surrendered lands, 103 
Swami, Ramesh, 185 
Swaraj, 87 

Talwar-bandhai lag, 77, 94 
Tagavi advances, 4’^ 

Taj Mahal, 5 
Tarun Rajasthan, 100 
Tejawat, Motilal, 91, 101, 108, 
no, 116, 142 

Terms of agreement, 91-95 
Thakur, Hamath Singh, 133 
Thakur, Kalyan Singh, 133 
Thakur, Raj Singh, 84 
Tharav (document of decision), 41 
‘Thikana Nawalgarh Ki Nadir- 
shahi’, 122 
Tilak, Lokmanya, 83 
Tindal, C. L, 61 
Tod, James, 7, 10, 20, 61 
‘To wage war’, 60, 61 , 64 
Treaty of 1818, 19-20 
Trench, G. C., 98 
Trench Commission, 99 
Tribal movement of Mewar, 91 
Trial of Govindgir, 58-67 
Types of Begar, 122-23 

Upadhyay, Haribhau, 103 

Verma, Manik Ram, 80, 82, 84, 
96, 102 

Vidya Pracharni Sabha, 80 
Vidyarthi, Ganesh Shankar, 83 
Vighoti (land revenue), 42 
Vyas, Jai Narain, 142, 143, 144, 
147, 148,151,152, 155, 180